WHO'S NEXT? JOE?
John Bolton's leaving the UN in January. There'll be no fight to keep him on in the Congress, no trickery (e.g., appointing him as a deputy and holding the ambassador's job open so he can still serve), nothing.
Now, is it possible that Bush will pick Lieberman to replace him, so that Connecticut's GOP governor can name Joe's successor (and thus flip the Senate)?
I can so easily imagine Bush -- while Iraq burns -- choosing to pick this fight.
A December 8, 2005, story in the New York Daily News speculated that Lieberman might replace Rumsfeld, but there was also this:
The Daily News has learned that the White House considered Lieberman for the UN ambassador's job last year before giving the post to John Bolton, a Bush adviser said.
I don't know if Lieberman would be legally required to abstain from voting on his own nomination. I imagine it would be customary. But as we've seen over and over and over again, the movement conservatives with whom Lieberman has aligned himself throw custom out the window whenever it stands in the way of a raw power grab. So there's your likely vote count: every Republican senator + Lieberman = 50, plus Cheney as a tiebreaker = 51. That means the new Democratic Senate will have to bottle the nomination up in committee, while surely being attacked as partisan (while "bipartisan" Bush is subject to less criticism).
And, of course, if the Democrats do stand firm and block the nomination, Lieberman can just stay in the Senate and switch parties, a move he refused to rule out after he was reelected.
Crazy or plausible?
(I post this knowing full well that I could be proved wrong as early as today -- Bush doesn't like to let these matters lie.)