Don’t Buy The Hype: Rummy Isn’t Going Anywhere
Robert Novak — among others — is claiming that Rummy’s toast…
“While the White House officially vowed Rumsfeld’s retention, there was no reinforcement in his natural political constituency. Last week, I talked to Republican members of Congress, GOP fund-raisers and contributors, defense consultants and even one senior official of a coalition partner. The clear consensus was that Rumsfeld had to go. ”There must be a neck cut,” said the foreign official, ”and there is only one neck of choice.”
…To well-informed outsiders, Rumsfeld’s fate seems assured. Stratfor, the private intelligence service, reported last week: ”The amazing thing is not that the White House is preparing Rumsfeld for hanging but that it has taken so long.” The report added that Rumsfeld ”consistently managed to get the strategic and organizational questions wrong.”
That just isn’t going to happen. Not only is the idea of holding the Secretary of Defense responsible because a few yahoos at Abu Ghraib went way over the line and abused some prisoners in their care completely ludicrous on its face, it would be a horrific political mistake for a number of reasons.
To begin with, there is no evidence in the latest polling data that the public holds the White House directly responsible for what happened Abu Ghraib — which makes perfect sense by the way. This is just another one of those media generated feeding frenzies that isn’t sticking to Bush despite the best efforts of the Democrats and their allies in the press.
Second, in case you haven’t noticed, there has already been a HUGE backlash among conservatives who believe the media & the Dems are using this incident to smear the President, attack the troops, and undermine the war. Furthermore, while Rummy isn’t necessarily all that popular with the State Department or some of the generals whose toes he has been stepping on in the process of reorganizing the military, he is VERY POPULAR with President Bush’s base. So getting rid of Rummy would antagonize Bush’s base with less than six months to go before the election.
Also, remember that the Democrats would try to claim Bush fired Rumsfeld because the war in Iraq was a “failure,” “we’re not doing enough about Al-Qaeda,” etc, etc. In short, firing Rumsfeld would give this whole issue a level of gravitas with the voters that it doesn’t currently have.
You also have to remember that Bush has been going out of his way to praise Rumsfeld — and deservedly so in my opinion. He’d look like a desperate man at this point if he turned around canned Rummy after talking about what a great job he been doing.
Last but not least, remember that these calls for Rummy’s head are little more than election year posturing driven by anti-war democrats, their allies in the mainstream media, and the same old RINOs like Chuck Hagel and John McCain who always try to go against the GOP in cases like this so that the press will lavish them with positive attention.
In short, don’t buy into this. Even if Bush truly isn’t happy with Rummy, he won’t get rid of him until AFTER the election, if at all….