The Bush administration's pattern of promoting imbeciles like Paul Wolfowitz while sacking competent lawmakers like Colin Powell continues, with the news that budget director Rob Portman will step down. (His stated reasonto spend more time with his familysuggests that the move was not voluntary.) The Washington Post reports that Portman "is one of the most popular Cabinet members on the Hill, and even Democrats speak highly of his intellect and affability." The timing of Portman's departure is odd, given that the next two years will require someone who can negotiate with the Democrats.
Enter Jim Nussle, who is known for his combative style. The AP reports:
As House budget chairman, Nussle helped draft the blueprint for Bush's signature 2001 and 2003 tax bills....Republican leaders and conservatives such as Nussle regularly rolled over Democrats - and took pleasure in doing so.
Asked what he thought of Nussle, House budget chair Steny Hoyer said, "What's the next question?" So why did this guy get the job, beyond the fact that the Bush White House seems to love to do things that throttle the democratic process?
He's a hawk.