November 4, 2004


Next Bush Cabinet Likely to Be More Conservative (Paul Richter, November 4, 2004, LA Times)

Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser, could take over at the Pentagon if Rumsfeld leaves, which would allow Bush to take credit for appointing the first female Defense secretary, Republican insiders say. Rice could also be appointed secretary of State, but she has let it be known that she would prefer the challenge of running the government's largest agency to making the diplomatic rounds, according to people who know her. [...]

Another top candidate to be secretary of state is John C. Danforth, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. The former Missouri senator is deeply conservative and an ordained minister, and his choice would be welcomed by religious conservatives, an important Bush constituency.

Still uncertain is the future of Paul Wolfowitz, the controversial No. 2 official at the Pentagon. Wolfowitz has let it be known that he would like a new job in the new administration but does not want another term in his current post, say Pentagon officials. As a former U.S. diplomat and State Department planner, he could be secretary of State; he is said to be a possibility as Defense secretary as well. [...]

At the Justice Department, many expect Bush to replace Attorney General John Ashcroft; former Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales are considered leading candidates. Thompson would be the first black attorney general, and Gonzales the first Latino.

It is not clear whether Thompson wants the job; in August, he took a lucrative position as senior vice president and general counsel at Pepsico. Gonzales has expressed interest privately in becoming attorney general, former administration officials say.

Other possible replacements include two relative moderates: Bush re-election chairman Mark Racicot, a former governor of Montana, who was considered a leading candidate four years ago, and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. [...]

In economic policy, Bush is expected to stick with Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, who has distinguished himself as a party-liner. But the major economic appointment of the new term is a year away. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's term expires Jan. 31, 2006, and by law he can't be appointed to another term.

Bush's leading candidate is said to be Harvard economist Martin S. Feldstein, president of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was President Reagan's chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers from 1982-84. He was a deficit hawk in that role, a posture that didn't endear him to that tax-cutting administration and might be a strike against him with the current one.

Bush's director of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, is said to be ready to move on to another job, most likely in the private sector. A good prospect to replace him is Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif., chairman of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security. Another is Asa Hutchinson, undersecretary for border and transportation security.

Norman Mineta, the secretary of Transportation, is not expected to stay for a second term. Mineta, a longtime California congressman and the only Democrat in the Bush Cabinet, will be 73 in January. Current FAA Administrator Marion Blakey has the inside track on succeeding Mineta.

Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Thompson are more likely headed to the Court. Condi to Defense gives her the executive experience she'll need for a presidential run. Asa Hutchinson would get the grooming he needs for an AR senate run. The bold stroke at Justice would be to name a Democrat, thereby making it seem a less partisan institution. Recruiting as many Democrats as possible for the cabinet is an excellent way of "reaching out" while at the same time drawing moderate Democrats to the Republican Party.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2004 12:18 PM


The problem is, _which_ Democrat? I confess to a failure of imagination (I'm still recovering from being up until 4 am yesterday), but I can't think of any.

Posted by: Joe at November 4, 2004 12:22 PM

Wolfie would be perfect as Secretary of State. He has extensive experience in the Far East, and will really tick off Old Europe.

Posted by: Bart at November 4, 2004 12:29 PM

Why is Ashcroft going?

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at November 4, 2004 12:31 PM


Harold Ford for one. Evan Bayh to HHS. Bill Nelson to head NASA. Lieberman would take just about anything. Zell Miller or Bob Graham to Defense. Heck, offer Kerry an ambassadorship to Europe and Tereza would make him take it. How about backing Bill Clinton for UN Secretary General.

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 12:39 PM

Wolfowitz at State, Condi at Defense -- ye gods! I love this!

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 4, 2004 12:40 PM


He's not necessarily, but he's apparently tired of being a punching bag. They can just give him a judgeship.

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 12:43 PM

But would Rumsfeld leaving be a good thing?

Would Condi be able to push through the 21st century remodelling of the US armed forces?

And isn't being a Senator a job with more perks than a Cabinet appointment?

Posted by: M Ali Choudhury at November 4, 2004 12:46 PM

Put Ashcroft on the Supreme Court. The Religious Right would love it and the NY Times would hate it, and the Democrats can't do anything about it.

Posted by: Bart at November 4, 2004 12:47 PM


The perks aren't worth it if you're in the minority, so powerless, and aren't ever going to be president if you stay in your own party. Bayh could be President if he wants to be, but not running as a Senate Democrat.

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 12:54 PM

Defense is too important for it to be Condi's training ground. State would be better. If Rumsfeld goes, elevate Wolfowitz at DoD. Better, talk Rumsfeld into staying.

Posted by: kevin whited at November 4, 2004 1:24 PM

Please, no Gonzales on the Court! Put Miguel Estrada and Janice Rogers Brown there first. AG is a good place for Gonzales.

Posted by: pj at November 4, 2004 1:36 PM

Kerry and Dole have demonstrated that simply being a Senator isn't enough. You've got to have some excutive experience. That means either a governorship, or cabinet office, and the latter will be under a GOP pres.

After his loss in '92, Quayle should have run for gov in '96. He'd have won easily, and would have set himself up his own president run for '000.

Bayh should line up a job and resign now, so as to have a Dem gov name his replacement before Daniels (GOP) takes over. (Would be interesting negotiating point.) He can then serve for a while, theneither run for pres in '008, or try to get a Senate seat back or run for gov in '008. He could be a formidable candidate in '012 — a moderate/centrist Dem from a "red" state who has a wide range of experience and already demonstrated an ability to work with the GOP as a "unifier". I could see him (or someone like him) as a Grover Cleveland like figure among bunch of GOPers in the list of presidents.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at November 4, 2004 1:47 PM

Put John Ashcroft on the Supreme Court, appoint Rudy Giuliani to Attorney General and Don Wildmon to chair the FCC. If the President did that, social conservatives would love him for eternity.

Posted by: Vince at November 4, 2004 1:54 PM

Raoul, Orrin's right. Barring a surprising victory by Dem moderates over the very antsy progressive wing, here's no way he could get the Dem nomination.

Posted by: Timothy at November 4, 2004 2:00 PM

M Ali - Ashcroft also has had some health issues in the past year that might prove a scare. He might enjoy a vacation. Or retirement, even.

Posted by: Augie De Blieck Jr. at November 4, 2004 2:18 PM

Somebody on another message board, when mulling over this very question, suggested John Edwards for Attorney General. Eeek!!!

Posted by: Joe at November 4, 2004 2:22 PM

Asa Hutchinson has done fabulous, awesome, owerwhelming, striking, efficient, job at border control. (cough, cough) Why don't we just ask Vicente Fox to do part time? He'll do it cheap.

Posted by: h-man at November 4, 2004 4:08 PM

Ashcroft is too old for the Court. Bush should appoint younger people, so they stay longer, which is a good thing *if* they are a good choice in the first place (no more Souters, please).

Posted by: PapayaSF at November 4, 2004 5:01 PM


John Ashcroft is only 63. He could potentially serve 25 years.

Posted by: Vince at November 4, 2004 5:04 PM


And the Court badly needs someone who's been elected to office.

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 6:06 PM


The border is controlled exactly to the level Americans will tolerate.

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 7:30 PM

Condi at Defense

I insist, however, that she wear the all-leather catsuit made famous by Michelle Pfeiffer.

A pet leopard on a leash... and a riding crop.

Yee haw!

Posted by: Eugene S. at November 4, 2004 7:50 PM

I kind of like the idea of seeing Bill Clinton become UN Sec. General. How about naming John Kerry as our Ambassador to the UN.

Posted by: Dave W. at November 4, 2004 10:55 PM


Here's an even more devlish one for you. How about Bush naming Kerry as his personal representative to the Summit he wanted to get more help from the "allies"?

Posted by: oj at November 4, 2004 11:13 PM

Nothing is more important that getting that fool Mineta out. He's gonna get people killed.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 5, 2004 4:10 PM