The person in DC who is least known but most responsible for building America’s imperial presidency is David Addington, Chief of Staff to Vice President Richard Cheney, or better known as “Cheney’s Cheney.”
Regrettably, sources tell me Addington is waking up each day as energetic and vigorous as ever — determined to wreck the Constitution as much as he possibly can before leaving office. We have no news about him leaving his position — which would be greatly welcomed by this blog. But we are worried that Addington’s rivals inside the Bush White House are weary. This should worry all of us.
However, others are moving around.
As I noted recently, Hillary Clinton’s Legislative Director, Laurie Rubiner, is moving to a new perch as Executive Director of the Washington policy affiliate of Malaria No More.
Rubiner, who is Hillary Clinton’s longest-serving legislative director at three plus years, previously served as senior health care adviser to Senator John Chafee (R-RI) and as Director of the New America Foundation Health Care Program. GoozNews written by former Chicago Tribune DC Bureau Chief and health care policy specialist Merrill Goozner has more on the implications.
The Senate Majority Leader’s big national security gun, Richard Verma, has gone back into private practice at Steptoe & Johnson.
Verma served for five years as Harry Reid‘s key senior policy adviser on national security policy and strategy. This blogger knows a bit too much about Verma’s efforts (via inside sources) to get Democrats on a smart national security course and admires the work he has done — even though I suspect that leading, White House-focused Dems have failed to heed some of his most important counsel on how to push a deal forward on withdrawing from Iraq and various aspects of the Iran challenge.
Verma has an interesting portfolio at Steptoe & Johnson which he has rejoined — and he hopes to work with NGOs, associations, and others working to sculpt approaches to foreign policy that will drive better legislative work and policy implementaion by Congress and the Executive Branch.
Lastly, Kori Schake will be the new Deputy Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff — replacing one of the few Bush administration defenders of the Geneva Conventions Matthew Waxman — who is now on the faculty at Columbia Law School.
Schake is a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, on the teaching staff at West Point, served on the G.W. Bush administration’s national security council — and most interestingly was one of the few grounded “ethical realists” on Rudy Giuliani’s roster of official foreign policy campaign advisers.
It has crossed my mind that while I think Schake really does like Guiliani — that her getting past the political correctness censors in Cheney’s wing of the White House was made easier by her extracurricular work for the former New York mayor. But she’s very smart and will work with State Department Policy Planning Staff Director David Gordon in crafting policy scenarios for the Secretary of State and President that involve more than Bomb/Don’t Bomb decisions.
— Steve Clemons