Ultra-conservative attorney- general John Ashcroft has had medical problems and the White House will be happy to let him go. Danforth has been mentioned again here, as has Marc Racicot, the former governor of Montana who chaired Bush’s re-election campaign. The leading candidate is Larry Thompson, currently the deputy attorney-general, who would be the first black to hold the job. None would be likely to change the justice department’s policies vis-à-vis the EU on anti-trust policy or international law-enforcement agreements, for example.At homeland security, Tom Ridge is expected to step down. Most prominently mentioned as a replacement is Dan Coats, who was named US ambassador to Germany after being passed over for Rumsfeld at the defence department. As for the US ambassador to the EU, do not expect a change to happen too quickly for this job, which is pretty far down on the food chain. Word is that Rockwell Schnabel, the current ambassador, would like to be commerce secretary (he held a position in the department during the Bush I presidency). A clue to how the battle is progressing will come when a decision emerges on the future of the US trade representative (USTR), Robert Zoellick, a pragmatist with the credentials to occupy any of the most senior cabinet positions. As far as the trade portfolio is concerned, officials such as Josette Shiner, deputy USTR for Asia, Grant Aldonas, commerce department secretary for international trade and Gary Edson, a senior White House economic advisor, are said to be in the frame. None is seen as an ideological right-winger. Josh Bolten, a former London-based banker at Goldman Sachs who is currently director of the office of management and budget, is also mentioned, but he is close to the president and probably destined for higher things.As for secretary of state, most observers expect Colin Powell to leave. Among those most prominently mentioned as possible replacements are current national security advisor Condoleezza Rice and US ambassador to the UN, John Danforth. Rice, however, is said to prefer to take over at the Pentagon, where Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is trying to hang on to his job indefinitely.Danforth, a former senator from Missouri, is also an Episcopalian minister. He would be acceptable to many Senate Democrats and to Christian fundamentalists. Europeans would probably find him a trustworthy interlocutor, but, as with Powell, might worry about who is really calling the shots.Long-shot choices to replace Powell include senate foreign relations committee chairman Richard Lugar and former senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat from Georgia. It pits neo-conservative “America-firsters” against the internationalists who lost out two years ago when they tried to restrain the dash to war in Iraq to gather broader worldwide support. The most public sign of the struggle came at the weekend when the newly elected president’s father, former president George Bush senior appeared on British television subtly pressing the case for Washington to engage more closely with its allies. Given what is at stake and therefore the extent of the anticipated shake-up, the timing of any changes is uncertain. Most public attention has focused on the candidates for the traditional foreign policy posts, such as secretary of state and defence. But the internationalists are just as concerned about the US’s need to beef up its foreign economic diplomacy so as better to manage its emerging dollar devaluation strategy and try to unwind global economic imbalances in an orderly way. Even Republican insiders concede that the US Treasury has been ineffectual under both the egregious Paul O’Neill and his successor John Snow. This is deeply worrying now that the Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan’s tenure is winding down and the global economy slowing.
Double the Nemechek. Triple the fun.For the first time in NASCAR history, a father-son duo will race in all three of the national series in one weekend. John Hunter Nemechek and his dad, Joe, are set to run the tripleheader at ISM Raceway.“It’s pretty cool to be able to compete against my dad at the top level of this sport,” John Hunter said last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. “I feel like there’s not many other sports that fathers and sons can say that. … Being able to make history together and run all three together is pretty special.”RELATED: Full schedule for ISM RacewayThe Nemecheks will be in Friday’s Lucas Oil 150 (8:30 p.m. ET, FS1/Fox Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, Saturday’s Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for the Xfinity Series and Sunday’s Bluegreen Vacations 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, MRN) for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.Joe and John Hunter have competed against each other before including several times in both the Xfinity and Gander Trucks Series. Texas was their first time in a Cup Series event together.“This is what my ultimate goal was when I started racing,” the elder Nemecheck said. “And since he started racing, this is what his goal was. He wants to get into Cup.”Said the younger Nemechek: “I didn’t know when I would be going to the Cup Series. But with dad, I knew that he wasn’t going to retire any time soon, so I knew he was going to be around for a while.”John Hunter finished 21st in his first career start, taking over the No. 36 Front Row Motorsports Ford as Matt Tifft is sidelined for the rest of the season due to medical reasons. Joe was further back in 29th, driving the No. 15 Premium Motorsports Chevrolet as a substitute.This weekend, John Hunter will be in the same car and Joe will be in Premium Motorsports’ No. 27 instead.The last time a father and son race together in NASCAR’s premier series was 2005, when Bobby and Bobby Hamilton Jr. placed 30th and 39th, respectively, at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The best a pair has even done was Bobby and Davey Allison in the 1988 Daytona 500 or Lee and Richard Petty at Lakewood Speedway in June 1959 and at Heidelberg Speedway in July 1960 – both families crossing first and second in order of names.“He could care less where I’m at,” Joe said. “Our spotters all keep up with that.”Joe has been in the sport for 31 years now. He started in the Xfinity Series in 1989, had his first Cup Series showing in 1993 and then did Gander Trucks Series in 1996. Anything he does now is part time. Joe is actually three starts away from tying Richard Petty’s all-time 1,185 record, meaning he’ll do so once the Cup Series race goes green.John Hunter had his Gander Trucks Series debut in 2013, went to the Xfinity Series in 2018, and made his Cup Series debut this year.Now, here they are, racing in all three together.“I’m sure it was a dream he had,” John Hunter said. “It’s not something that I’ve necessarily dreamt about. But looking at the scenario right now, it’s history for our sport, so it’s pretty amazing.”