Heckuva job, Rummy!

Hang down your head, Don Rumsfeld...

Get ready with the medals

Last week, George W Bush was steadfastly avowing his support for Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld. "Both those men [Rumsfeld and Cheney] are doing fantastic jobs and I strongly support them," Bush said, adding that he expected them to be with him to the end of his term. What a difference a week makes! Today, W announced that Rummy was "resigning." To "pursue other opportunities" no doubt.

Surely this wasn't something Bush just thought of this morning! When pressed to explain the sudden reversal — can you say "flip-flop"? — Bush said, "The reason why is I didn't want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign."

What Bush is saying, in effect, is that he put partisan politics above the national interest. That, of course, is a charge W loves to level against anyone who disagrees with him, that they are playing partisan politics.

It has been obvious for a long time that Rumsfeld had really botched up his two wars and someone else would have to pick up the pieces. But it took a public drubbing at the polls to break through W's bubble and make him deal with reality. What a sorry excuse for a leader!

Now that the Democrats are in control of the House, W has suddenly rediscovered the joys of working together. "The message yesterday was clear", said Bush in his press conference, "the American people want their leaders in Washington to set aside partisan differences, conduct ourselves in an ethical manner, and work together to address the challenges facing our nation." Well, doh! Any damned fool knows that, and if Bush had not put himself in thrall to the Prince of Darkness Dick Cheney and the Macchiavelli of Pennsylvania Avenue Karl Rove, it would not have taken six years to figure that out.

"The election's over. And the Democrats won," declared Bush, "and now we've going to work together for two years to accomplish big objectives for the country." If only W had taken that attitude beginning January 19, 2001, when he took office the world might be a very different place today.

Frankly, I don't believe a word of it. What Bush always does is change his words, not his behavior. He is an old dog, and we should expect no new tricks in the remaining 803 days of his term. What we can expect is that Rove is already plotting his next moves to cast the newly empowered Democrats as obstructionists and appease-niks, in preparation for the 2008 presidential election.