Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The Karen Hughes mystery

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There’s an article in Slate today speculating on why Karen Hughes left her job as Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. It begins:

And so Karen Hughes is leaving her post as “public diplomat” in much the same way she assumed it, with an air of farce and mystery.

The farcical qualities, in both phases, were up front for all to see. Her entrance two years ago, in a high-profile PR trip to the Middle East, was a jaw-dropping display of ignorance and malapropism that made her the laughing stock of the region. Her announced exit yesterday was marked by tributes to her alleged achievements that were simply surreal.

But it is the mysteries that are murkier. Why was Karen Hughes—this hard-headed but provincial Texan with no experience in foreign affairs and only a smattering of irrelevant Spanish—handed the job of repairing America’s image in the Muslim world? And, with just over a year to go in his presidency, why is this avid Bush loyalist leaving now?

This latter question is at least intriguing and perhaps ominous. Her move, I’m told, came as a complete surprise to her senior staff, some of whom had been assured only days earlier that she’d stick around till the end of the term. Her publicly stated reasons for departing are unpersuasive—a mix of the banal (she wants to spend more time with her husband) and the absurd (she’s accomplished everything she set out to do).

The article continues and comes up with a reason. I’m wondering, though, whether Karen Hughes’s travel and her willingness to listen perhaps opened her eyes somewhat, and she fell out of the spell Bush had cast and started to see him for what he is, and to begin to see clearly what he has done. Perhaps, away from the inner circle and traveling about and talking to ordinary citizens in other countries, and listening to them and their representatives, the scales fell from her eyes. And if that happened, she would naturally enough not have to stomach to continue to work for and with the current Administration and want, more than anything, to get as far away as possible.

Written by Leisureguy

2 November 2007 at 12:28 pm

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