Thursday, July 27, 2006


Conservative Up-Ricing

Bye, bye Condi-for-President boomlet?

A few on the Right are decrying her apparent mugging by the
realists in the State Department:

A major problem, critics said, is Miss Rice's ignorance of the Middle East. They said the secretary relies completely on Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, who is largely regarded as the architect of U.S. foreign policy. Miss Rice also consults regularly with her supporters on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chairman Richard Lugar and the No. 2 Republican, Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

The critics said Miss Rice has adopted the approach of Mr. Burns and the State Department bureaucracy that most—if not all—problems in the Middle East can be eased by applying pressure on Israel. They said even as Hezbollah was raining rockets on Israeli cities and communities, Miss Rice was on the phone nearly every day demanding that the Israeli government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert exercise restraint.

"Rice attempted to increase pressure on Israel to stand down and to demonstrate restraint," said Stephen Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. "The rumor is that she was told flatly by the prime minister's office to back off."

The critics within the administration expect a backlash against Miss Rice that could lead to her transfer in wake of the congressional elections in 2006. They said by that time even Mr. Bush will recognize the failure of relying solely on diplomacy in the face of Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Newt denies that he wants Condi gone. (Oh, and I'm a big fan of Steve Clemons, but how does his viewpoint add to the story. He's very much a critic of the administration -- from the left.)

The role of this "Mr. Burns" is rather intriguing. No word yet on where Smithers is on this.

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