Our top story tonight...
Four Cabinet members have decided to call it quits. Colin Powell is the biggest name of the group, naturally, at Secretary of State. I don't think he always fit in well with the rest of President Bush's war cabinet, but he did bring enough charisma to keep Jacques Chirac out of our hair. He will be missed for being able to do at least that much for the US government. He had a great role in the good cop / bad cop style of diplomacy, being the "thoughful" member of the Bush administration. Basically, you could either surrender nicely to Secretary Powell, or else you'd have to face off with the rest of the administration. It also angered the French government, something I can usually agree with in practice if not in principle. (You're right, I don't care much for the French government. They sure bark a lot, but don't have much bite to back it up.)
With Secretary Powell resigning, President Bush has already tapped Condoleezza Rice as his nominee for Secretary of State. I don't see a single problem with that. She's got the chops for it from her National Security Advisor background, and can play academia-type games of politeness when dealing with diplomats from Continental Europe. I also think she'll be more tenacious in getting better deals for any American political capital spent in the rest of the world. She doesn't seem like she'll back down too often. I hope that's the case.
I also wonder who President Bush will tap for Secretary of Education Rod Paige's replacement as well. Secretary Paige has had to deal with the No Child Left Behind legislation, which still needs a lot more fine-tuning beyond the initial tweaks. I would also like someone who will keep the school voucher issue on the front burner.
Ann Veneman is leaving her post as Secretary of Agriculture. She dealt with a lot of boring issues, as many Midwesterners can attest. I wouldn't mind the next Secretary of Agriculture coming from Illinois, but that's local pride more than anything. Maybe this time we'll get some funding to figure out some way to get more funding for gee-whiz technologies like thermal depolymerization (converting animal carcasses into gasoline without the million-year wait) and biodiesel fuels.
With Spencer Abraham leaving as Secretary of Energy, I hope the next replacement will work to further tighten security at US nuclear power plants and create better security and usage for our current non-nuclear energy sources as well. The next Energy Secretary and Ag Secretary could work together on some of the ideas presented above to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources.
Combine this with John Ashcroft's resignation and his replacement with Alberto Gonzalez, and we've got a pretty hawkish Cabinet line-up for 2005. I like it. The current nominees have the experience to work with President Bush on national security issues. I hope this gives us a stronger United States once the new crew is confirmed.
In other news, the commute to work every day is very tiring, and my desire to not look at a computer screen every time I blink has caused me to post less than I want. I'm still going to post when I can during the week, though.