Rummy Watch

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Don't think for a minute that the Bush White House will hesitate to toss Don Rumsfeld overboard if the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal suggests such a course. All policy and personnel decisions are in the re-election orbit from here on out.

We might even see some sort of weird reshuffling where Rummy takes the hit, the electoral dead-weight of Dick Cheney slides over to his natural habitat at Defense, and an unhappy Colin Powell is lured back to a second term with the Veep slot, which also opens State up for some conservative red-meater to keep the latter-day adherents of "Wilsonian buncombe" thundering along quite happily.

Crazy? Undoubtedly, but these are most insane times.

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  1. It is amazing that so many people continue to underestimate Bush. His apparent weakness is his greatest strength! (How else to explain the opposition’s selection of presidential candidate.) It is ludicrous to think this rises the SoD’s level and there is no way Bush is going to give the Vietnamized democrats the satisfaction of sacking anyone in his administration. Even a moron would recognize that given that inch, the disloyal opposition would go into overdrive seeking to destroy this administration (see what the attempts at meeting the opposition half way did for the Romanovs, Gorbachev, Nixon).
    But while we’re talking Executive Office Rotisserie, how about Rice to VP, Powell to UN Ambassador, Rumsfeld to State (oh! the howling), Cheney to Defense?

  2. All are war criminals. Anyone who joins this crowd should either forcefully demand competence and accountability or be prepared to defend themselves in court when this sad, despicable occupation ends in failure.

  3. are you actually critizing Taylor for being wacky and tone-deaf while also saying Rummy is popular and doing a good job

    Whether or not he’s doing a good job is largely a matter of personal opinion. He’s certainly doing a brilliant job compared to the last few administrations, but that’s not hard.

    However, he’s definitely popular. Sure, Democrats hate him, but their opinions don’t matter — they aren’t going to vote for Bush under any circumstances, and he therefore has no reason to care what they think. Among Republicans and moderates, opinions of Rumsfeld typically range from neutral to strongly positive.

    In short, nobody blames Rumsfeld for the prisoner abuse scandal except people who already hate Bush’s guts. So throwing Rumsfeld to the sharks would only hurt Bush, especially since it’s obvious that Rumsfeld isn’t to blame for the prisoner abuse.

    Anyway, this entire line of speculation is absurd. Bush has had plenty of opportunities to reduce political fallout by sacking actually *incompetent* administrators for *actual* misconduct in the past, and he hasn’t done it (coughTenetcough cough). He’s not going to sack Rumsfeld over something as trivial as this.

  4. Skip makes a great suggestion:
    “Rice to VP, Powell to UN Ambassador, Rumsfeld to State (oh! the howling), Cheney to Defense?”

    This would be a WONDERFUL lineup, except I’d dump Powell altogether, Cheney to State Dept.
    Condi as Veep would be a GREAT choice.

  5. Skip makes a great suggestion:
    “Rice to VP, Powell to UN Ambassador, Rumsfeld to State (oh! the howling), Cheney to Defense?”

    This would be a WONDERFUL lineup, except I’d dump Powell altogether, Cheney to State Dept.
    Condi as Veep would be a GREAT choice.

  6. Skip makes a great suggestion:
    “Rice to VP, Powell to UN Ambassador, Rumsfeld to State (oh! the howling), Cheney to Defense?”

    This would be a WONDERFUL lineup, except I’d dump Powell altogether, Cheney to State Dept.
    Condi as Veep would be a GREAT choice.

  7. Uh, wait a minute. Who, exactly, has ever been fired by this administration for fucking up? I don’t think any of these people are going anywhere, simply because the administration seems to be unable to admit a mistake, and firing someone they hired would definitly seem to indicate that they made a mistake.

    For gods’ sakes, rumor has Paul “Iraq has no history of ethnic conflict” Wolfowitz being considered as the next Director of the CIA.

  8. mike,

    Some people underestimate him; others overestinate him. Big deal.

  9. No fucking way Bush puts either Colin or Condi in the veep seat. He wouldn’t last a week if the US were only one bullet away from its first black president.

  10. Warren-

    I see you’ve been listening to Chris Rock 🙂

  11. Bush, like everyone before him, will toss aside those who serve him if they become liabilities, or if he feels they’re disloyal, but Rummy is still popular and–to those who actual follow what’s happening rather than pretend to–doing a good job. And, please, Taylor, no more wacky, tone-deaf advice on how to run a campaign. And I mean that on either end–no short pieces about how the Democrats should dump Kerry at the convention, or bring on Gore or Hillary as a co-President.

  12. Power – are you actually critizing Taylor for being wacky and tone-deaf while also saying Rummy is popular and doing a good job?

    Pot/Kettle = Black

  13. criti – cizing

  14. Could happen. Though the Bushies are smart enough to know they need a “good cop” to play on the world stage, and I don’t see where the scenario you describe allows one.

  15. Jeff Taylor may not be too far of the mark. I was starting to get a whiff of this from various news reports of the past few days. Rummy’s foot dragging on the earlier investigation and the slow response from the Pentagon on the latest situation undermine his position.

  16. Brilliant. It gets Powell into a position where he may safely be ignored. If he gets loose then there’s no telling what manner of trouble could slip out in interviews. He’s too sympathetic to let go, and too moderate to fit in.

  17. “Rummy’s foot dragging on the earlier investigation and the slow response from the Pentagon on the latest situation undermine his position.”
    Excuse me, the investigation began in January and there have already been non-judicial punishments…
    CBS and Seymour Hersh are late tot he game, not DoD.

  18. this is possible – the other option I have heard/read is to put Condi Rice on the ticket (instead of Powell)

    you know … to be able to face Hillary in 2008 and all that

  19. In your dreams, Taylor

  20. Tossing someone to the sharks won’t help.
    An admission of an error would have Bush out of office before the election.

  21. Joe,

    The good cop would still be Powell, where as veep he’d more clearly be the symbolic ambassador he really is now.

    But I don’t see it either. Bush hardly seems capable of master strokes. Too many advisors telling him too many things and no mind of his own. Even his wars were conducted in a fashion that likely split the difference between what different advisores advised.

  22. to add to Joe.L’s point, it was the military guys who complained about the abuses (don’t want to call that ‘torture’ yet) and the low-key investigation has been underway for almost 5 months (with admininstrative punishments etc)

  23. Bush is unlikely to dump Cheney, irrespective of electoral math, because the vice president is the de facto chief of staff and his presence is central to Bush’s vision of government. Powell will probably resign after the election if Bush wins, allowing a Cheney-approved candidate to take over at State. Powell would not, in my opinion, accept the vice-presidency under any circumstances.

    Rumsfeld is something of a wildcard. If the White House feels the need to create a fall guy for Iraq, Rumsfeld is certainly the top candidate, but then the question becomes who to replace him with. The most obvious political choice would be John McCain.

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