But seriously, folks. Here’s what worries me about this: During
Bush’s first term, liberals generally lamented his effective neutering
of Colin Powell. I can’t remember how many articles I read that
contained the phrase "…Condoleezza Rice when he wants to send a serious
message." With Rice at State, I think a lot of people assumed that the
Secretary of State and The Person Bush Uses To Send Serious Messages
would finally be the same person. So far, that has been the case, and
the results have been…well, vastly improved. (Witness the 100%
reduction in wars!)
What worries me about Hughes is that she could undo this synergy. By
all accounts, Bush and Rice are close, but Bush and Hughes are closer.
And as far as I can tell, the job to which Hughes has been appointed is
explicitly about sending messages, in a region of the world where
America's reputation is vital.
I guess it’s only natural that Bush would fill Rice’s old place as de-facto consigliere
with someone new. Maybe he disdains hoity-toity institutions. Maybe he
just naturally distrusts State, no matter who’s in charge of it.
(Hardly surprising for a president that puts such a premium on
loyalty.) In any case, if I’m right about this, it’s disappointing.
Between Hughes and Bolton (who, while were on the topic, looks like
Captain Kangaroo), the Bush-2 foreign policy team is definitely balking
on fulfilling its initial promise.