Question: besides Iraqis and monologue writers, who benefits most from Rummy’s departure?

Answer: a woman who’s been about as successful in her job as he was in his. AFP:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice emerged strengthened within the US administration from this week’s Republican election defeat, with the ouster of longtime adversary Donald Rumsfeld expected to boost the hand of diplomats over hawks in driving US foreign policy…

The resignation of Rumsfeld — who once famously declared “I don’t do diplomacy” — was widely seen as opening the door for a shift in US policy on Iraq, which could have broader implications for US actions across the Middle East…

Tim Dickinson, a political commentator for National Affairs Daily, a news website linked to Rolling Stone magazine, called the replacement of Rumsfeld by Gates a “throwback” to the pragmatic foreign policy of the elder Bush’s presidency.

“His selection appears to be a major coup for the secretary of state and a real blow to Dick ‘Full Speed Ahead’ Cheney and the neo-conservatives,” Dickinson wrote.

More at Time. Think she’ll miss him?

Three and a half years ago, as the U.S. prepared for war with Iraq, Condoleezza Rice went to President Bush with a complaint: Donald Rumsfeld wouldn’t return her calls…

Though both maintained the appearance of collegiality, Rice and Rumsfeld loathed each other. Throughout Woodward’s book they are depicted squabbling over everything from how to handle detainees at Guantanamo Bay to whether the U.S. should guard oil pipelines in Iraq. As the war dragged on, their roles were reversed: By the end of the book it is Rumsfeld who is left to doodle in his notebook while Rice briefs reporters during a joint appearance in Baghdad…

In her early months as Secretary of State, Rice would sidestep questions about Iraq by stating that the presence of 150,000 troops on the ground meant it was mostly the Pentagon’s problem. But that argument has become less persuasive as the violence has continued and all military options — short of a massive increase in U.S. troops — have proven ineffective in dealing with the insurgency. By now, even Bush’s dog Barney knows that extricating ourselves from Iraq will require cutting some ugly political deals with an assortment of rogues, who might be willing to help stabilize Iraq in return for a piece of the country’s future: Sunni Baathist rebels and Shi’ite Islamists, Iranian spooks and Arab strongmen.

Thus dies the Bush doctrine.

Three pieces of gallows humor for you, then: Slate’s poetic homage to the outgoing SecDef plus two videos, one from last night’s Late Late Show and one from Rumsfeld’s speech this afternoon at Kansas State University. I detect a note of bitterness in that last, sotto voce comment in the KSU clip, but judge for yourself.