Will Karl Rove be replaced by the current US Ambassador to Japan? Informed speculation in Washington last week hinted at the possibility.
Our current Ambassador to Japan J. Thomas Schieffer's friendship with George W. Bush stretches back to a time when he traded Sammy Sosa away from the Texas Rangers, when Schieffer was a partner in the Ballpark Development. Before arriving in Japan in April of 2005 he was Ambassador to Australia, apparently shepherding through the free-trade agreement with Australia and then calling it quits.
Asian foreign policy circles were abuzz for a time when it was reported that former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert would replace Schieffer, whose wife really wants to come home. However, in the aftermath of the Foley Scandal it appears that Hastert didn't quite have the stomach (no pun intended) for Senate confirmation hearings. Meanwhile, Schieffer's wife really, really wants to come home.
It appears Ambassador Schieffer is very worried about his friend, our president. Likewise, with Bush increasingly more isolated and in need of an infusion for his New Year escalation of the war in Iraq, word around Asian policy circles is now that Schieffer very well might return to DC in the new year. His job? One DC consultant, whose daily newsletter is a must read for Asia policy wonks, hints that it might be to replace Karl Rove.
Is it true? I doubt it. Rove doesn't come across as the type to relinquish power without a bloodbath, not to mention the fact that he and Bush have achieved what many consider a Vulcan Mind-meld.
Then again, Fitzmas never panned out, so maybe Christmas will.