Re-invigorating lame ducks
Barnes proposes replacing Rumsfeld with Cheney, Cheney with Rice and Rice with Lieberman. I'm not well up enough on American politics to know how often a Secretary of State comes from a different party to the President, but I'm guessing it's not often. But it would be a shrewd move by the President - Lieberman is coming to look liike a coalition of one within a Democrat Party that is in danger of sacrificing permanently any claim to a responsible foreign policy. By detaching him Bush would make the Dems more extreme and deprive them of a centrist figure. It would also be a demonstration of the Democrats political re-alignment of the last 6 years - a figure who ran as V-P candidate no longer feels at home in his own party.
Creating a narrative has become the most important element of Government press publicity. Blairism created its own momentum, and was then carried along for years on the back of a narrative of modernity and vigour that has only now turned. Cameron has devoted much of his effort to creating a narrative of drive,youth and transformation - and has succeeded up to a point.
If Bush is to re-invigorate a flagging second term,such a grand gesture might well be needed. The appointment of Rice would act as a public anointment of a successor - an important step, but one that might obviate the possibility of a damaginglydivisive primary season for 2008. The danger of inaction is to give off an atmosphere of inertia - and provide the American press with the easiest storyof all - that of a lame duck President.