Thursday, December 16, 2004


Dissension In The Ranks

The list keeps getting longer.

As George W. Bush continues to stand by his embattled Secretary of Defense, the rest of his party is getting the hellout of Dodge. It all started with the armor question. Now for those of us who have been following the "internets," this really wasn't anything new. But for the American "sheeple," this was shocking. Maybe if Rumsfeld had answered the question a little more diplomatically, he could have defused the situation. But delicacy has never been Rumsfeld's strong suit. In fact, his snarky response only added fuel to the fire.

Soon thereafter we began to hear the calls for Rummy's head. At first it was mostly from the left, but it gained traction on the weekend talk shows and we were soon hearing that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has no confidence in poor old Rummy. Most people thought "so what?" We all know that McCain can be somewhat of a maverick. But when others like Sen. Chuck Hagel (R - NE) and Sen. Norm Coleman (R- MN) started to join him, it began to look serious. Just recently we've seen the addition of Trent Lott (R-MS) and Susan Collins (R-ME) to that list. So how many more are yet to come?

This all begs the question: how long before Bush is forced to abandon ship? Or has he earned enough "political capitol" to ride this one out? You see, this puts our dear Georgie-boy in a rather awkward position between that proverbial rock and hard place. On the one hand he could stick with Don but he risks alienating even more of his party. This could hurt his chances of passing any future defense spending packages. On the other hand though, if he bails out on Donny, he's admiting that there may have been some mistakes made along the way in Iraq and he has stated repeatedly that if given the chance he would do it all again. Besides, admitting mistakes is not one of Shrub's strong points.

So where do we go? Obviously I'd like to see Rumsfeld kicked to the curb, but I shudder at who we would get to replace him. Wolfowitz? Perle? Any number of neocons could step in and continue on in the Rumsfeld tradition without interruption. So replacing him may not be the answer. In truth, I expect Bush to stick by his man and give the metaphoric finger to those dissenters in his party and the Dems in general. But don't get too down about this. It could easily work to our advantage.

The longer Bush sticks with his failed policy and policymakers, the more ammunition the Democrats will have in 2006. We just have to be sure that we start firing early enough. Now would be a good time to start. We can begin by referring to those dissenters as if they were part of our party. We can include them when we say things like "we disagree with the Secretary of Defense." We shouldn't hesitate to point out that conservatives are starting to agree with us. If we act now, we can use Donald Rumsfeld as our wedge. He's got poor approval ratings, he's abrasive, and he's stubborn; but best of all, he's Bush's boy. They come as a matched set.

So how do we frame this issue? Well, to use a familiar approach:

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