“Ash Carter” is far too close to “Ashton Kutcher” for my tastes, and I’m going to stand by that as the reason I’m not fully supporting his nomination. Well, that, and I’m pretty sure that he’s the Obama Administration’s only choice that would effectively rubber stamp any administration decision on handling foreign policy matters, even if the decision is blindingly stupid. He’s certainly not my first choice, and I’ve only had 24 hours to review his record, which is scant, to say the least.
The good news for me, I guess, is that he’s not the Obama Administration’s first choice, either. According to a CNN story about Chuck Hagel’s rather sudden departure as Secretary of Defense, even as the White House was drying the ink on Ash Carter’s press release, the President’s staff was still scouring the Internet for a slightly better defense secretary.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, the second source says, was essentially put on the White House’s so called short list after Flournoy withdrew to make it look like there were high-level candidates under consideration. But several sources tell CNN that Johnson quickly made it clear he didn’t want to go through another confirmation hearing and was reluctant to leave DHS after less than a year on the job.
Democratic Sens. Jack Reed of Rhode Island and Carl Levin of Michigan also said they did not want the job.
That essentially left Ash Carter as the last candidate under serious consideration. But even on Tuesday, as the final touches were putting on the White House plans to announce Carter, still another administration official said the White House was going back one more time to see if there were other possible higher profile candidates.
According to sources, Carter is “deeply respected” within the Pentagon, which might mean anything from being trustworthy on important matters to being the only guy who routinely gets lunch orders right, but it doesn’t really matter. He’s the only one who wanted the job who wouldn’t practice for it by playing a hearty game of Risk with John McCain. He may actually be the only one who wanted the job, period. Though, perhaps, after finding out from CNN that the White House still isn’t sure they’re dead set on giving him a seat in the Cabinet he, like pretty much everyone else, will rethink the appointment.
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