Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bush/Rove unleash October surprise

Ooops. . . or maybe not.

Faced with the prospect of having every pundit on every show talking all day about a Democratic victory, the collapse of the conservative movement, and the failure of the Karl Rove election strategy, George Bush marched out at 1pm Wednesday to regain control of the news cycle.

He did it by firing Don of the Dead.

Suddenly, every news program, on TV and Radio, was talking about Bush, his decision process, and the relative qualifications of Rumsfeld’s replacement, Bush family farm hand (and former CIA director) Robert M. Gates.

My first reaction was one I often have when Bush brings in somebody “new”: Doesn’t this guy have any friends of his own?

Gates is a Daddy Bush retread—an aid to Scowcroft when he ran the NSC, DCI under B41, and now an underling to Bush Family fixer James Baker on this Iraq Study Group (also known as CYA4GWB). Prior to his current post as President of Texas A&M, Gates was Dean of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service, also at Texas A&M. Gates has the stink of Iran-Contra all over him, just like Bush 41, and is also suspected of having passed classified intelligence to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war.

So, as you can see, he is the perfect guy to bring a fresh point of view to the current crisis.

My second thought was that this was clearly not something Bush and Rove just dreamed up this morning. Since Gates (who was previously Bush’s first choice for the DNI job now held by John Negroponte, but turned it down because he thought it was a needless level of bureaucracy) was on hand for his one o’clock roll-out, it is obvious his wooing had been in the works for weeks, and the final decision had to have been made several days ago (at least). So, as is always the case with this White House, the decision was not about foreign policy, or defense strategy, but about domestic PR. Bush/Rove could have announced this decision before the election (and might have even done his party some good by doing so), but instead decided to keep it in his vest pocket to pull out just when he needed it—and after the drubbing Team W took Tuesday, boy did he need it.

My third thought was, so this is why Deadeye Dick went hunting. Vice President Cheney can’t be happy that BFF Rumsfeld is being shown the door, and certainly didn’t look forward to having to comment on it. What better than to skulk off into the wilds of South Dakota (is it?), where a man can be a man with only his thoughts and a fully stocked SUV mini-bar to comfort him?

Thought four is that now task number one for the new Democratic majority in the Senate will be the confirmation of Bob Gates—something that, in spite of his slightly hinky past, will likely sail through. Is there a better way for beltway pundits to welcome in the era of divided government than with a “victory” for the President?

And now for my fifth thought: let’s stop talking about Bob Gates! I know, it’s not fair, I just got to have my say, but now that I have, I would like to try to focus on the new Democratic majority and their agenda for a hike in the minimum wage, real ethics reform, Congressional oversight of mis-, mal-, and nonfeasance—both foreign and domestic—a repeal of the Dungeons Act, and a rewriting of Medicare drug benefits so that they benefit Medicare recipients instead of Pharmaceutical companies.

I don’t mean to sound like a Pollyanna, but if we keep our eyes on the ball, maybe the Democrats we just sent to Congress will, too.


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