Monday, February 14, 2005
Following in the footsteps of Kemal...
Imagine my surprise when I found this floating around in the blogosphere, from the Rumor Department at Shape of Days:
I wish I could remember where I heard this. I've been meaning to post it for a couple of weeks, and in the intervening time I've completely forgotten who told me about it. So file this one under rumors-comma-amusing.
Everybody knows that the President refers to his father affectionately as "41," right? After the fact that George H.W. Bush was the 41st President of the United States. Bill Clinton was #42, and George W. Bush is #43.
The rumor goes that ever since the election, the President has been jokingly referring to Secretary of State Condi Rice as "44."
Part of me really wants Condi to get the nomination in '08 because I think she'd be a fantastic President … but part of me wants her to get the nomination just so we can finally put that "the GOP is a white-men-only club" nonsense to bed once and for all.
I would not at all be surprised if this story happens to be true. One of the things that they teach at Harvard Business School (of which Bush is an alumnus) is preparation for an orderly succession. George Bush and Karl Rove have begun a decade long project to turn the Republican Party into a natural majority party as it was during the time of William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. You can't do that if you cede the Presidency, and all the patronage and legislative initiative that goes with it, to Hillary Clinton and the Restorationist Democrats in 2008.
I have been personally convinced for some time that Bush and Rove have been thinking along these lines, find much to be desired in Giuliani and McCain, and have settled on Rice, with her approval and consent as the next President in the line of succession. I also believe that active planning has begun on both the 2006 mid-term and the 2008 General Election Operational Plans with Rice as the critical actor in the latter planning assumptions (this stuff is probably highly compartmentalized, to the point that only Bush, Rove, Rice, and possibly Ken Mehlman know about it). The Oppostion is assumed to be Hillary Clinton and her allies. One of the things that tips me off are various "non-denial denials" that Rice has been peddling since becoming Secretary, statements of hers which are necessary to make in order to avoid political chaos while she remains in the Building. Another thing to tip any of you off are the recycled stories about Richard Clarke's January 2001 memo to Rice that popped up in the New York Times (which is a huge nothingburger once one actually reads the contents of the memo). This stuff doesn't happen by accident; it's supposed to damage Rice. It's also old news, and has the trademarks of Hillary Clinton fighting a rearguard action. She knows what's up.