So says Tapper, greatly surprising no one. If any Bush cabinet member deserves to be held over, it’s Gates, but I’m ambivalent all the same. Will he have any major responsibilities beyond leaving Republican fingerprints on a withdrawal from Iraq?

The Iranian issue will probably have to be resolved one way or another this year, so I’m guessing “yes.”

The former Eagle Scout is expected to be rolled out immediately after the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend as part of a larger national security team expected to include Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, as Secretary of State; Marine Gen. Jim Jones (Ret.) as National Security Adviser; Admiral Dennis Blair (Ret.) as Director of National Intelligence; and Dr. Susan Rice as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

Gates was CIA Director for President George H.W. Bush in 1992, and gave the impression to some that he would stay on in that role if asked by incoming President Bill Clinton. Clinton did not keep him on, replacing him instead with Jim Woolsey.

On second thought, if the AP’s right about The One outsourcing foreign policy to Gates and Hillary while he dithers with the economy, maybe Iran’s not on tap this year after all. The goal for 2009 presumably would be to turn the tables on them for once, holding them off with promises of negotiations to come in order to bide time while more pressing matters are attended to — in which case, er, aren’t they just going to use that period to build a bomb? This isn’t, ultimately, a subject that can be booted down the road a la Israel and Palestine. Exit question: On a scale of one to 10, how loud will the nutroots whining about this ideologically impure pick be? (Exit answer: Four.)

Update: “The nomination of Mr Gates and General Jones will anger the anti-war wing of the Democratic party. They will quickly have to come terms with the fact that Mr Obama appears intent on governing as a muscular foreign policy realist.” Give The One credit: The only pick thus far that’s even arguably filibuster-worthy is Holder.