The usual advance notice in government is about six weeks, said Paul Light, a New York University professor of public service. On the other hand, university presidents often give much more notice to allow for a search.
But for Feith, a key developer of Washington's somewhat disappointing postwar strategy in Iraq, the search won't take that long. In fact, the "mentioners" are already working up lists. At the top last week was Eric Edelman, now ambassador to Turkey, who had been talked about to be assistant secretary of state for Europe or for the Middle East.
_____In the Loop_____
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More In the Loop
Word is that Edelman turned down those offers -- in part because they were lower-ranking jobs than the one he had when he worked for Vice President Cheney, where he had a deputy rank. (For those without a program, this would put the National Security Council's senior director for Europe, Daniel Fried, in the lead for assistant secretary of state for Europe.)
Another name that quickly surfaced is Richard Lawless, top Asia hand at the Pentagon and point man for North Korea. Also on the list is Peter Rodman, a former top State and White House aide and now assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, though his ties to the Kissinger-Scowcroft "realist" camp might prove too strong.
Meanwhile, some opposition is surfacing to talented career diplomat David Welch's ascension to assistant secretary for the Middle East. There are concerns that Welch is too much in the department's Arabist tradition. And some note that the very troubled U.N. oil-for-food program was malfunctioning during Welch's watch as assistant secretary for international organizations.
If Welch doesn't get the job, there's always Elizabeth Cheney, former deputy assistant secretary of state for the Near East, who's now at home with the kids. No one will mess with her, least of all our dynastically inclined allies. We'll show 'em meritocracy in action.
Chatter was that Elliott Abrams, former assistant secretary of state and now at the National Security Council, was entertaining offers from both agencies. The smart money last week had him staying at the NSC as top deputy and also as special liaison to Condoleezza Rice on Middle East peace matters.
Easy Come, Easy Go
Moving in . . . There's talk that some at the Justice Department might try to lure Timothy Flanigan, who left his job a while back as deputy White House counsel to feed his 14 children, to return to government work -- hey, the kids can shovel snow, mow lawns, wash cars and such -- perhaps as chief of staff to Attorney General-designate Alberto R. Gonzales.
Moving out . . . Jeanne Lopatto, who has been director of public affairs for four years at the Energy Department, is moving on. Lopatto, who had been press secretary for then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) during her 18-year career on the Hill, is looking in the private sector.
Former representative George R. Nethercutt (R-Wash.) and former Interior Department deputy secretary J.Steven Griles are teaming up with former White House national energy policy director Andrew D. Lundquist in a new group, Lundquist, Nethercutt & Griles.