November 16, 2004

The Triumph of Fealty in Bush II

Josh Marshall can't resist a pot-shot at the end of this post; but he makes a very good point.

Neither Ms. Rice nor Mr. Gonzales are the neo-cons' or the conservatives' choice for their respective offices-to-be. In each case they're acceptable; but no more.

What distinguishes each is their connection to the president, their loyalty and their fealty. Neither has any base in the city or standing anywhere else absent their connection to him.

Put differently, Chuck Hagel's needn't apply....

Still, I can understand Bush on this point. Loyalty does matter. Hugely. But you have to make sure your loyalists aren't mere courtiers. When they think you are full of s&%t; they should be able to so tell you. Can Gonzalez, he of the 'torture-is-constitutional' (as long as there is no organ failure!) memorandum? Can Rice?

We'll doubtless find out soon enough...

P.S. I suspect Rummy's influence might well wane in a Bush II. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But Dubya and Condi are so tight. If Rummy tries to wear both hats again (SecDef and SecState) Bush will reel him in, I suspect, if only to protect Condi (to the extent she needs such backstopping).

The big question is, will she really go to bat on policy issues where Cheney and Rummy are aligning on another side of the issue? Or will they all be operating in lockstep, as this Glenn Kessler piece suggests?

MORE: Read this too.


Posted by Gregory at November 16, 2004 05:58 AM
Comments

Gregory:

For a practicing attorney you are woefully naive.

As I am sure you are aware, when an attorney is asked for guidance, they display a proclivity for "covering all the bases." This is often to the chigrin of the dollar watching client.

I place Gonzales' guidance relative to the torture documents in the same category. The clients in this respect were the DoD and the matters pertained to
an enemy not addressed since the Barbary pirates.

In short, give Gonzales a break and don't buy the WaPo/NY Slimes assessment wholesale.

Posted by: Captain America at November 16, 2004 07:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

For "Neither has any base in the city or standing anywhere else", I can't help but read "They aren't our kind; they don't know how to play the game, they show no signs of settling into the establishment; they won't talk to us". I can see where this would infuriate Josh Marshall, who displays all the signs of being a desperately needy would-be Washington Insider.

On the other hand, wasn't Hadley rumored to be Marshall's much-cited, unnamed neo-con insider?

Posted by: Mitch H. at November 16, 2004 02:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I seriously doubt that Hadley would leak to the likes of Josh Marshall. Hadley is a close Rice associate, and should be considered her batman at the NSC. He started out under Cheney during Bush the Elder's Administration, but Condi pulled him in from exile at Stanford to work as her majordomo on the NSC. I just don't picture Hadley being a leaker. Joe Wilson? Richard Clarke? Of course. But not Hadley.

BTW, look for Rumsfeld to be replaced by Chuck Hegel or Joe Lieberman. Indeed, if Bush didn't mind losing a Republican senator, I wouldn't be surprised if he nominated McCain, under the principle of keeping your enemies closer. State never needed help up on the Hill. DOD, otoh, needs a solid reestablishment of relations up on the Hill. Rumsfeld is a visionary, and his campaign to kill of dinosaur projects like the Crusader mobile artillery system give me some hope. However, he did not take the chance post-9/11 to advocate an increase in rifle division end strength, nor do I see any progress on the littoral warfare end of the business in the Navy Department. Forget the post-campaign fumbles-our reliance on Reservists and Guardsmen stems primarily from the fact that we have the same number of active maneuver divisions in the Army and Marine Corps as we did on September 10, 2001. That is inexcusable, and I think Bush might have taken Rumsfeld out earlier, save for the fact that it is fatal to admit a mistake in the midst of a Presidential Campaign.

Whatever happens, the next cabinet will not be dominated by Two Big Dogs, but by one Big Cat-Condi.

Posted by: section9 at November 16, 2004 03:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ms. Rice is the one to watch now. I think the group at the top, shuffled though they are, are still going to perform like a championship team. I would like to see State hauled back into relevance, even as I disagree with Rice and Bush essentially all of the time. There's a war, and a peace, to be won.

Posted by: gaw3 at November 16, 2004 08:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

He should be picking people who have shown loyalty to the nation and it's principles, not loyalty to him. On that point, Gonzales certainly fails (torture memo). Rice may not, but given than she is an incompetent manager and an inept diplomat, she will likely be the worst SoS ever.

Posted by: Flaime at November 16, 2004 09:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Can we please wake up to the fact that BUSH is in charge of the executive branch of government? He hire's em, he fires' em and all this pissing and moaning about who has principles and who has loyalty is nonsense. What is important is that the entrenched bureaucrats in many government executive agencies that don't seem to know who the boss is. The CIA purge is only the beginning and none too soon.

Posted by: Frank at November 17, 2004 02:32 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Chuck Hagel for SoD? Don't hold your breathe, section9. Rummy will stay on board because of the much needed military transformation. Continuity is of the essence during such a change.

Posted by: Captain America at November 17, 2004 02:45 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Chuck Hagel as a member of Bush's cabinet? Not a chance. The man is an opportunist. Did you note the way he was distancing himself from Bush during the election campaign? Abu Graib and all the other minor flaps had Hagel on the Sunday morning talk shows putting some distance between himself and the Bush administration.

Posted by: George at November 17, 2004 04:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

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