The Cabinet-level position, to be known as Secretary of the Nation, was established by an executive order Sept. 2, but has remained unfilled in the intervening weeks.I, for one, can hardly wait.
“I’ve been talking to folks from all across this country, from Louisiana to Los Angeles, and people tell me the same thing: This nation needs a strong, compassionate leader,” Bush said. “In response to these concerns, I’m making this a top priority. I will name a good, qualified person as soon as possible.”
Among the new secretary’s duties are preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of the United States, commanding the U.S. armed forces, appointing judges and ambassadors, and vetoing congressional legislation. The secretary will also be tasked with overseeing all foreign and domestic affairs, including those relating to the economy, natural disasters, national infrastructure, homeland security, poverty, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The secretary will report directly to the president.
For weeks, members of both political parties have been urging Bush to fill the post.
“Every day the president waits is another day he’s accountable for needless deaths at home and abroad, the stagnating economy, and the threat of terrorism,” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said. “This post is far too vital to be left vacant. Mr. President, there is no reason to delay.” ...
According to a nationwide poll conducted by the Cook Political Report, the majority of U.S. citizens find the question of national leadership to be highly significant, with 61 percent of respondents “strongly” believing that the country is suffering from a leadership vacuum. Fifty-four percent said they trusted Bush to find an appointee who will be able to effectively manage the country.
While many Beltway insiders have named senators Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ) as likely candidates, White House sources revealed that Bush may be leaning toward a stalwart loyalist. The list reportedly includes fellow Yale graduates, Midland, TX business associates, and various GOP fundraisers with connections to the Bush family.
“Despite their inexperience in government, they’ve clearly passed the Bush character test,” said a White House staffer who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I think the president is looking for someone he’s comfortable with and can trust, above all else. A [former FEMA director] Michael Brown type, or maybe even Brown himself.”
ADDENDUM: The Chicago Tribune reports that “[p]essimism over the war in Iraq and skepticism about the economy at home have cost President Bush support among the most reliable segments of Illinois Republicans ...” The prez’s job approval rating in the Land of Lincoln now stands at 33 percent, “the lowest point among Illinois surveys involving his administration.” (Bush’s approval rating in May was 41 percent.) The Trib notes that “[s]upport for Bush has dropped 14 points in the last year among Republicans, and GOP officials fear that could complicate their efforts in next year’s races for Congress and governor. For the first time in his presidency, half the voters in Chicago’s Republican-rich collar counties disapprove of Bush’s job performance, a departure from last fall when he carried all five suburban counties.”
READ MORE: “Peering Under the Plame Outing: The Case for Impeachment,” by David Swanson (AfterDowningStreet.org); “The First Shall Be Last: The Bush Crowd Is Discovering What It’s Like to Be on the Way Down,” by Terence Samuel (The American Prospect); “You Don’t Need to Be a Weatherman to Know How Badly Bush Blows” (Bottle of Blog); “No More Bush” (File Cabinet; warning--nudity).