In their perpetual search for enemies, Republican right-wing ideologues have chosen a most unlikely quarry: John H. Sununu, the White House chief of staff. A former skinflint governor of New Hampshire best known for his contempt for Michael Dukakis and others of the liberal persuasion, Mr. Sununu got his job (a) because he engineered the Bush win in his state's 1988 primary and (b) because he was regarded as a sop to GOP conservatives who have always suspected George Bush of being a closet moderate.
Already a hate-object to many House Republicans for his role in fashioning a budget agreement that included higher taxes, Mr. Sununu is now regarded as the guy who butchered the nomination of William Bennett, the former drug czar who served for 13 memorable days as chairman-designate of the Republican National Committee.
That Mr. Sununu had a hand in Mr. Bennett's selection is now regarded as evidence of poor staff work at the White House, which first saw no conflict of interest problems in the RNC appointment and then changed its mind. The more prevalent view from the GOP far right is that Mr. Sununu quickly determined that Mr. Bennett was too obstreperous and too enamored of ideas that are anathema to the White House inner sanctum. So he had to go, a martyr to a crusade that in recent years even wondered if Reagan was Reagan.