Where Has Claude Allen Gone?

The resignation of Claude Allen last week as domestic policy adviser means a true-blue conservative is no longer shaping policy at the White House. But why exactly did Allen pick now to go? He doesn’t really expect us to believe the old I-want-to-spend-more-time-with-my-family excuse, does he?

Now comes the following report from National Journal’s Hotline On Call:

Republicans who know Allen believe the explanation cited by the White House and by Allen — that he wanted to spend more time with his family — rang true. But, they say, that desire applies to virtually every member of the president’s senior staff.

Another intruiging possiblility is that Allen resigned to protest the administration’s failure to protest new Air Force regulations governing the conduct of chaplains.

The Washington Times’s Julia Duin has covered the story for months, watching as the service struggled to rewrite guidelines after Jewish and Muslim chaplains protested about aggressive evangelicals — and as evangelicals protested that they were not allowed to exercise their faith, which requires them to minister in Jesus’s name.

We’ll probably never know the real reason, but that’s what makes speculation so fun. In any case, Allen will be missed. He won widespread praise when he was given the job. And while some of he initiatives that came up under his watch (Social Security being the biggest) didn’t go his way, at least he was rooted in conservative thought.

Now that he’s gone, it would come as little surprise if President Bush names a Texas pal to the post, as he did with Margaret Spellings, who is now serving as secretary of Education. Spellings, of course, is no conservative. But then again, neither is Bush.