Sunday, May 16, 2004

Hastert rips White House, White House doesn't notice...

Speaker Dennis Hastert ripped the White House at a House GOP meeting and drew applause from a frustrated and fed-up caucus.

GOP Congressmembers are getting tired of inept handling of bills, poor message timing, and an overall lack of consultation. Of course, they aren't jumping on Kerry's swift boat, but this is still significant. Not just that GOP Congresscritters are getting cranky with the Administration, but that they will express it publicly. That sends a strong signal to constituents around the country and the Democratic caucus: Bush is wounded and cannot absolutely count on Congressional support.

Any rifts between the Administration and Congress now are especially significant considering the on-going Abu-Gate inquiry. Sy Hersh has let fly a substantive accusation that Rumsfeld ordered an expansion of a deeply secret Special Access Project to Abu Ghraib meant develop information on the Iraqi resistance using interrogations that did not conform to the Geneva Convention. What he got instead was the program's cover blown, and an utter chaos of securities leaks, and exuberent excesses; perhaps even beyond what he wanted to occur. So Bush's SecDef is on the hot seat just as Congress seems eager to prove their independence and the military is seething to bring down the civilian DoD appointees who have tarnished their reputation.

Things do not look good for our Neo-Con SecDef. Despite Bush's support, I have to say that Rummy is toast. He is going to be asked to resign, and if he won't and Bush won't make him, he's going to be impeached.

Everyone is frustrated with the lies and plain incompetence of the Bush Administration in dealing with Iraq, including GOP Congresscritters who are having to answer questions about the cost, the huge deficits, the seeming stalemate into which a rag-tag bunch of insurgents have pushed the world's only 'Superpower', the debacle of sloth, neglect, and corruption that reconstruction has become, and the growing dissent of their own constituents, a large majority of whom now dissprove of Bush's handling of the war, even though most still think it was the right thing to do in the first place.

Bush made a grave mistake investing any political capital in Rumsfeld given that he must have known that Rumsfeld personally gave the orders which led to the situation. Either Bush and Rummy thought that fact would not come out, which would be incredibly naive, or Bush thinks Rummy can weather this anyhow, which would be distinctly divorced from reality. One thing Bush is not is a stupid politician. He does tend to think he can chew much more than he bites off, however.

I can surmise a third, and frightening, possibility: Rumsfeld didn't tell him about the SAP, or perhaps did not tell him about his order to expand it to Abu Ghraib. If Rumsfeld was running such a program off the reservation, without Presidential authorization, or he failed to keep Bush informed, Bush should be taking Rummy apart with his own hands. That he's instead praising Rummy to the heavens can only mean that Bush (well, OK, Rove) has decided that this can be weathered. Instead of dumping Rummy as quickly as possible, Bush is going to drag a very damaging scandal into the beginning of election season in an attempt to save Rummy. The lies and the ridiculous interpretations of law, which characterize this Administration's damage control mode, are going to be flying fast and thick.

All I have to say to that is, EXCELLENT...

With such a circus going on what will people be looking for in November? Someone who seems quietly competent and prudent, not cowboyish. Someone who will reapproach the world community for assistance, instead of calling them childish names. Someone who will just get the damn job done without a lot of grandstanding bullshit. Someone who doesn't call people he has never met 'evil', and doesn't constantly push the envelope of everyone's tolerance for his own benefit. Someone who doesn't make America feel spiritually like the damn West Bank. Someone who isn't Bush.

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