In a story on the resignation of United Nations ambassador John Bolton, reporter Helene Cooper, for the second time in three weeks, suggests (mockingly?) that defeated Sen. Lincoln Chafee, one of John Bolton's chief Republican critics, is actually a possibility to succeed Bolton as ambassador to the U.N.
Stephen Spruiell of National Review Online caught it first when the story was posted to the Times website yesterday, but the story was subsequently changed both online and in print, deleting the Chafee reference.
Luckily, the International Herald Tribune goes to press earlier, so Cooper's initial reference to Chafee is preserved there.
From the December 4 edition of the IHT: "The White House gave no immediate signs of its plans for a successor, but people who have been mentioned both inside and outside the administration as possible successors include the American ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad; Philip Zelikow, the State Department counselor; Paula Dobriansky, under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs; and Chafee."
Back on November 11 Cooper also plumped for Chafee for U.N. ambassador: "Names that have been floated both inside and outside the administration include Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to Iraq; Philip D. Zelikow, the State Department counselor; Paula Dobriansky, under secretary of state for democracy and global affairs; and even Mr. Chafee."
John Podhoretz commented at National Review Online at the time: "Who has made it impossible for John Bolton to be confirmed by the Senate? Lincoln Chafee. Who has recently said he may not remain a Republican notwithstanding the millions upon millions of dollars spent by the Republican party to retain his seat? Lincoln Chafee. Who, therefore, in the delusional estimation of a New York Times reporter, might be John Bolton's replacement at the U.N.? Lincoln Chafee!"
In an online audio commentary accompanying her Tuesday story, Cooper also speaks of the "retreat of the neoconservative voices within the administration, particularly as personified by Don Rumsfeld, who resigned right after the elections, now John Bolton."
Cooper is casting a pretty wide net for "neoconservatives," especially given the appearance of Rumsfeld's memo on the Times front page Sunday, a memo that has come under criticism from neoconservatives (the preeminent "neoconservative" magazine, The Weekly Standard, called for Rumsfeld's resignation long ago).