There being another resource-related vacancy in the Bush Administration - with the resignation today of Interior Secretary Gale Norton - it's time once again for another round of that favorite Idaho game, "Will Dirk get the appointment?"
Or the trailer appointment at EPA, if Mike Leavitt of the Environmental Protection Agency is moved to take the Interior spot.
Once again, folks: Serious speculation is pointless.
Those who argue in favor note that Kempthorne had a bunch of presumably pleasant face time with the president a few months ago at Tamarack, and he must rank as among the increasingly unpopular president's most unquestionably loyal supporters anywhere outside his administration. (In the review of a whole wide range of controversial/troubling policies, the only break coming to mind is Kempthorne's joining with 49 other governors in a protest of a prospective cutback in National Guard forces.) Hard-core loyalty is there, and that's important to Bush.
Of course, none of that has changed since the several other openings for which Kempthorne was reportedly considered, and passed over. One would think that if they wanted him on board, they would have brought him by now.
If it does happen, the impact now would be far less than it would have been last year, when Lieutenant Governor Jim Risch could have used the step upward to run a strong campaign for governor; now, with campaign filing deadline only a week away, that option is essentially foreclosed.