December 15, 2005

Heck of a Job Brownie, Redux

Bush interviewed by Brit Hume on Fox:

HUME: Mr. President, thank you for doing this.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, thanks.

HUME: Good to see you, sir.

BUSH: Yes, sir.

HUME: I want to ask you about some of the people around you and your relationship with them and how they stand with you.

BUSH: Sure.

HUME: Secretary Rumsfeld, how does he stand with you?

BUSH: Good. He's done a heck of a job. He's conducted two wars, and at the same time is out to transfer my military from a military that was constructed for the post-Cold War to one that is going to be constructed to fight terrorism.

HUME: Is he here to stay, as far as you're concerned, until the end of your term?

BUSH: Yes. Well, the end of my term is a long time, but I'll tell you, he's doing a heck of a good job. I have no intention of changing him.

It's odd. Bush, of late, has risen somewhat in my esteem given that he's been significantly more candid regarding errors committed in Iraq. And then he has a 'heck of a job Brownie' moment, like this one re: Rummy, and I remember Harriet Miers, and Katrina, and the torture policy, and the blunders in Iraq and, well, I get all down on him again. It reminds me of a David Brooks comment about Bush on Meet the Press a while back: "...you always got to go back to competence. And sometimes in my dark moments, I think he's "The Manchurian Candidate" designed to discredit all the ideas I believe in." Meantime, this Fox interview doesn't bode well for my earlier prognostications here (although he does say the "end of my term is a long time...") Still, maybe I should get out of the prediction business on this one...

Posted by Gregory at December 15, 2005 04:35 AM | TrackBack (1)
Comments

Hey Greg,

Even Drunks have moments of lucidity... But they're still drunks at the end of the day...

I'm being a wise-ass, but then sometimes you need to be otherwise we'd all take it to seriously...

Posted by: Aran Brown at December 15, 2005 05:31 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mr. Djerejian:

I have two questions. First, is there a credible a posteriori analysis of Michael Brown's failings? He was most harshly criticized during the first days of the Katrina disaster for being unaware of the horrible happenings in New Orleans -- which, we now know, were generally not happening after all.

Second, are you in a position to say anything about John Bolton? Kevin Drum has linked approvingly to the American Prospect's hatchet job, but I have not seen much other analysis.

Posted by: Sammler at December 15, 2005 09:57 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I have no intention of changing him" does not exclude the possibilitiy of Rumsfeld leaving on his own initiative. I have suspected since the beginning of Bush's 2nd term Rummy would stay in place through the Iraqi elections and then take a well deserved retirement. Bush is probaly aware of this (hence his remark that "the end of my term is a long time"), so he is not going to make any serious criticism that would make it look like Rumsfeld is being forced out. If I were a betting man, I would guess that a couple of months from now we could be talking about Secretary Lieberman.

Posted by: american in europe at December 15, 2005 10:51 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"I have no intention of changing him" does not exclude the possibilitiy of Rumsfeld leaving on his own initiative. I have suspected since the beginning of Bush's 2nd term Rummy would stay in place through the Iraqi elections and then take a well deserved retirement. Bush is probaly aware of this (hence his remark that "the end of my term is a long time"), so he is not going to make any serious criticism that would make it look like Rumsfeld is being forced out. If I were a betting man, I would guess that a couple of months from now we could be talking about Secretary Lieberman.

Posted by: american in europe at December 15, 2005 10:52 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg:

Until Rumsfeld finds he has a sudden need to spend more time with his family, what do you expect Bush to say? "He's screwed up royally, doesn't speak for me, but I haven't found a replacement yet?"

I'm not sure this byplay says anything about Bush's state of mind vis a vis Rummy. A president always has the utmost confidence in his subordinates right up to the time he fires them.

This said, it won't bug me to see the Dems (and maybe John McCain or Joe Lieberman) start drawing the parallels between Heckuva Job Brownie and Heckuva Job Rummy. A lot of political heat can sometimes get folks fired.

Posted by: Appalled Moderate at December 15, 2005 02:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg - did you listen to what was said

"Good. He's done a heck of a job. He's conducted two wars, and at the same time is out to transfer my military from a military that was constructed for the post-Cold War to one that is going to be constructed to fight terrorism."

Yep - that about covers it

Your crusade against Rumsfeld is going nowhere : )

This idea that he should be fired for his "many blunders" is just a broken record. You compare the decisions he made to a perfect scenario where everything goes right - in a war????

Who lost their job for not knowing Sherman tanks couldn't penetrate the hedgerows in Normany again? Or that the Amtracks would get hung up on the coral at Tarawa?

Did your grandfather keep a diary where he called for General Marshall or Eisenhower or Nimitz to be axed?

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at December 15, 2005 02:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Sammler- you're kidding, right? Check out some of Brownie's e-mails to DHS officials. The best one is his response to an official in Louisiana who wrote that "the situation is past critical... Hotels are kicking people out, thousands gathering in the streets with no food or water... Plans developing for dome evacuation but hotel situation adding to problem. We are out of food and running out of water at the dome, plans in the works to address the critical need." Brownie replied, "Thanks for the update. Anything specific I need to do or tweak?"

Posted by: Brad R. at December 15, 2005 02:32 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well, you got it this time from the horse's mouth. That should be enough to dash your hopes of being a good prognosticator. What's the hurry, anyway, to shove Rummy out? He's doing a good job, at least from the man who employs him, and so it's time to stop the second-guessing. He will torture you till the end of 2008, if you have that kind of patience.

Posted by: R. G. Lacsamana at December 15, 2005 03:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"He's conducted two wars, and at the same time is out to transfer my military..."

Excuse me? "My" military?

Is that how Presidents generally refer to the US Armed Forces? As their own personal property?

Posted by: CaseyL at December 15, 2005 07:57 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Au contraire. Isn't "doin' a heckuva job" code for pack your bags and get ready to head back to the Horse Breeding association? Far be it from me to call Bush sane, but this "heckuva job pronouncement is support for you Rumsfeld's out prediciton not against it.

Posted by: Retief at December 15, 2005 08:15 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Bush is fierecely loyal and is not going to openly criticize those who have supported him. This doesn't mean though that he doesn't privately harbor criticism, or not believe they should go.

Posted by: Jeff at December 15, 2005 09:20 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ahhh! Rumors confirmed. Rummy is on his way out.

Posted by: Chris at December 15, 2005 10:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Brad R.: Thanks for the link; I will check it out. The "best" example you give doesn't say much to me.

Posted by: Sammler at December 16, 2005 09:39 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Brad R.: Having read these EMails, I am not impressed with the case against Mr. Brown. Nothing here is remotely dispositive toward the claimed incompetence.

Posted by: Sammler at December 16, 2005 01:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Brad R.: Having read those Emails, I can't see how they make any significant case against Mr. Brown's competence. More comments here.

Posted by: Sammler at December 19, 2005 08:52 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Isn't "doin' a heckuva job" code for pack your bags and get ready to head back to the Horse Breeding association?"


Good point. I think it replaces the previous phrase used to indicate someone is about to be fired:

"I have complete confidence in so and so."

Posted by: lance sjogren at January 1, 2006 08:40 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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