It Looks Like the Spirit of Judy Miller Is Alive and Well at the New York Times
Pat Lang: Bush and Rice Live in "Bushworld"

More Thuds and Screams Inside the Topkapi Palace

Persons unknown plunge the rhetorical dagger that is Robert Novak into the back of Condi Rice and Phil Zelikow. Is this payback for Condi Rice's betrayal of Scowcroft and Baker and the Iraq Study Group?

Robert D. Novak - The Mess at State - Members of the Senate intelligence committee, Republicans and Democrats alike, were alarmed last week that John Negroponte was leaving as director of national intelligence after less than two years to become deputy secretary of state. By way of explanation, he informed one Republican senator that he did not want to make the switch but that the White House had prevailed on him to do so.... [T]o pull him out just as his on-the-job training was completed reflects a panicky desire to fill the deputy secretary post, which had been unfilled for an unprecedented six months. Five other key State Department positions are either vacant or are soon to be vacant.

Republicans in Congress who do not want to be quoted tell me that the State Department under Condoleezza Rice is a mess.... Rice has failed to manage.... Rice's previous government duties had been as an analyst and staffer rather than as a manager.... The deputy's post went to Robert Zoellick, one of the most talented national security administrators of the past generation who during Bush's first term was U.S. trade representative.... Zoellick took a bullet for the team, dropping down a step to No. 2 at State....

Estranged from Zoellick, Rice relied on Burns and State Department Counselor Philip Zelikow.... Zelikow was near the top of the arrogance scale in a building where arrogance is the norm.... Zoellick... had enough after 18 months.... That began a furtive, sporadic search for a deputy. Several prospects (including Marine Gen. James Jones, who just retired as NATO's supreme allied commander) said no.... Negroponte... was implored by fellow Foreign Service officers to bring order out of chaos...

The word is that the reality-based Republicans are finally making their move. With the reality-based Gates running the Pentagon and bossing the military intelligence assets, Negroponte is no longer needed to control the intelligence crazies. Thus he has moved to State in order to take control when Condi Rice gets sacrificed for incompetence. Meanwhile, chief-of-staff Josh Bolten is boasting to the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire that you can see that he is powerful and in control because he has managed to fire Harriet Miers.

There have been many times in the past when the word was that the reality-based Republicans are finally taking control. All such claims were false.