Today's Blogs

Negroponte’s Switcheroo

Bloggers reflect on John Negroponte’s surprise resignation, struggle to care about Barack Obama’s cocaine use, and laud Rep. Keith Ellison for swearing on Jefferson’s Quran.

Negroponte’s switcheroo: National Intelligence Director John Negroponte has resigned to become deputy secretary of state under Condoleezza Rice, a position formerly occupied by Robert Zoellick. Most people expect retired Vice Adm. John M. McConnell to take over as national intelligence director. Bloggers wonder why Negroponte would agree to an apparent demotion.

At Outside the Beltway, conservative defense analyst James Joyner hypothesizes: “My guess is that Negroponte is frustrated at his inability to affect change and is willing to take an on-paper demotion for real influence on the policy process.” Michael J.W. Stickings at The Reaction suspects he may have transferred in order to be involved with “Bush’s ‘new’ Iraq strategy”: “I don’t think the ‘new’ strategy, such as it is one, will work, but at least Negroponte knows more about Iraq, and about pretty much everything else, than the warmongers in and around Bush’s bubble.”

Libby Spencer at liberal blog The Impolitic thinks Rice is “obviously in over her head but can’t really be removed since doing so would only emphasize the failed foreign policy of the White House. And perhaps Negroponte will still enjoy the same access to the Oval Office behind the scenes, despite taking second chair to Condi.”

Liberal BooMan at Booman Tribune senses some “very deep politics beneath this”: “Why on earth would Negroponte agree to move from the adult’s table to eat at the fold-out kiddie’s table?” He theorizes that either Rice is flailing and needs bailing out or this could be another “Poppy Bush coup. First they forced Porter Goss out of the CIA, then they moved Robert Gates into the Pentagon, now they move Negroponte into the State Department and put former NSA chief (under Poppy Bush and Clinton) J. Michael McConnel in as Director of National Intelligence.”

Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain’s Quarters expects tension as Negroponte is replaced by a military man: “Congress expressed some uneasiness when Bush nominated General Michael Hayden to head the CIA; they were reluctant to put a command officer in the military in charge of an agency that had mostly had civilian leadership. Part of the reason Congress shrugged off those concerns was that a civilian served as DNI. Now that Bush wants to put a retired admiral with strong ties to the Pentagon’s intel structure, that may come up again as a concern for lawmakers.”

Read more about Negroponte’s switch.

Youthful indiscretions: The light shining on Barack Obama turns suddenly harsh as pundits, journalists, and bloggers consider his past marijuana and cocaine use, which he wrote about in his early memoir, Dreams From My Father, published in 1995 and reissued in 2004.

Conservative Tom Maguire at JustOneMinute claims to be not shocked but rather “troubled” by the disclosure: “I am not interested in hearing from my teenagers the argument that recreational cocaine and pot use worked out OK for Mr. Obama. Frankly, I preferred to hold out George Bush as an example of what can happen to a person who parties too hard as a youth.” Allahpundit at righty video blog Hot Air seconds Maguire’s apprehensions but declares himself less concerned about drug abuse itself than about “the fact that Obama seems to get political benefits from admitting to it. … He’s more human this way, you see. More honest and ‘real.’ Wait ‘til Barbara Walters finally interviews him and he works up some tears. He could win 40 states.”

Centrist law blogger Ann Althouse quotes a Republican consultant, who points out the book isn’t one an aspiring politician would write: “I think it’s a good thing if he revealed himself as a real person back before everything had to become a political calculation. (Or was it a political calculation, even then, just an unusual and sophisticated one?)”

Liberal blogger Polimom argues that the admission is bound to draw negative attacks: “[T]hat’s the way our highly evolved political system works, does it not? Had Barack Obama not written his book eleven years ago, somebody would have been dug out of his past come forward and said, ‘Barack and I used to hang out behind the bleachers in high school and get high’.”

Read more about Obama’s drug confession.

Jefferson ’s Quran: Newly elected Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a practicing Muslim, drew heat last month after announcing plans to swear his oath of office on a Quran. * Now it appears he used a copy of the Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson during the ceremony today.

Dkilmer at the conservative RedState quotes a Web site dedicated to the Quran to point out that Ellison’s book might not actually be a Quran: “For Muslims, the divine Word assumed a specific, Arabic form, and that form is as essential as the meaning that the words convey. Hence only the Arabic Koran is the Koran, and translations are simply interpretations.”

Citing the conservatives who had conniptions when Ellison announced he would use a Koran during the swearing in, Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars wonders, “Will Dennis Prager and Virgil Goode now call the Founding Father responsible for the Declaration of Independence a terrorist-lover?”

Read more about Jefferson’s Quran.

Correction, Jan. 5, 2007: Due to an editing error, this column originally identified Keith Ellison as a congressman from Michigan. He is from Minnesota. (Return  to the corrected sentence.)