Sacrificial Sham: Bush Changes the Subject with Rumsfeld Sacking
With Wednesday's post-election sacking of Donald Rumsfeld, President Bush showed once again that he's more concerned about managing the news cycle than America's national security. Facing the prospect of explaining away his party's "thumping" at the hands of the Democrats, Bush instead hoped to change the topic.
The "blue wave" that swept the Republicans from Congress can in no small measure be attributed to Bush's failed presidency in general and the disaster in Iraq in particular. Exit polls revealed that 57% of voters disapproved of the war in Iraq and 58% of Bush himself, with a staggering 60% stating that national issues drove their choices on election day. The stench of George Bush tainted Republican candidates, especially in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Just ask soon-to-be ex-Senators Rick Santorum.
But if victory has a thousand fathers, George W. Bush wanted to ensure that defeat would be an orphan. Using the always willing White House press corps as his accomplice, Bush sought to alter the news cycle with his transparently cynical move at the Pentagon. Swapping one disaster for another, the White House hoped to change the topic from Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid to Don Rumsfeld and Bob Gates.
The American people spoke clearly on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, the President wanted them to speak about something else. So just one week after steadfastly praising the "fantastic" performance and guaranteeing the future of his Defense Secretary, President Bush almost comically declared:
"Now, after a series of thoughtful conversations, Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that the timing is right for new leadership at the Pentagon."
There's an old saying that discretion is the better part of valor. The timing of President Bush's attempt at media misdirection with today's long overdue dumping of Donald Rumseld was just cowardice, pure and simple.