The Corner

State–It’s Where The Action Is

Interesting analytical speculation in The Note today, given the new job for Karen Hughes at State:

The President’s most trusted advisor is running back to Washington not to rescue his Social Security plan, but to do something about America’s image in the world (and maybe buff up Rice’s image in the process).

Once confirmed, Ambassador Hughes’ title will be Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy. And she’s got some high-powered help: White House personnel diva Dina Powell will be Hughes’ deputy and the Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Egyptian-born Powell is just 31, but she’s the highest-ranking Middle Eastern woman in the Administration and she speaks Arabic. When she wasn’t helping the President pick his cabinet secretaries, Powell often traveled to the Middle East as a White House emissary on reform and women’s rights in the Arab world.

With Rice, Hughes, and Powell all at the State Department, the women who were closest to the President over the past four years (besides the First Lady, of course) will all be going to work at Foggy Bottom. Throw Liz Cheney into the mix (she started as an Assistant Secretary of State two weeks ago) and you have some real VP firepower over there as well.

Karl can keep the Social Security portfolio. Maybe, just maybe, the women are on to something. Could this President’s best chance for a history-making second-term accomplishment be in the Middle East, not on Capitol Hill?

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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