Moderate Bush Official Resigns, Feeling ‘Marginalized’ And ‘Subordinate’

Today, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced Robert Zoellick’s resignation as Deputy Secretary of State. Last Friday Zoellick said he was resigning because “he had accomplished his objective of helping Rice set up her management team and get her tenure as Secretary of State off to a fast start.” He has accepted a position at Goldman Sachs.

While loyal to the Bush administration, Zoellick was one of its few moderates. But like other moderates in the White House, he was increasingly left without significant influence, which associates hint may have been the real reason for his departure:

In addition, friends said, Mr. Zoellick had at times felt marginalized at the State Department, where his subordinates, including R. Nicholas Burns, an under secretary of state, manage most of the major issues.

Zoellick has told administration officials he will leave, probably to a Wall Street firm, if he isn’t named to replace Treasury Secretary John Snow, two persons familiar with the matter said.


From his first days at the State Department, Mr. Zoellick has chafed at his subordinate position, frequently remarking that he was finding the adjustment difficult after running his own office during four years as United States trade representative, which is a cabinet position.

Instead of promoting capable moderates such as Zoellick, the Bush administration continues to hire partisans who are unlikely to fulfill Bush’s promise to “change the tone” in Washington.