So, Bush, it seems that you're now "the decider." I heard you make this claim in the Rose Garden yesterday. Well, I was acutally watching TV and you were in the Rose Garden speaking to the television cameras. Nice word, anyway. But every time you make an assertion of this kind--remember "I'm a war president"--it sounds to me more like the high-pitched protest of a weak man. The words have, frankly, a pathetic ring to them, and suggest the opposite of what they want to say. In this case, the "decider" was defending your embattled Rumsfeld and I predict that this blind loyalty in the face of so much evidence and so much opposition will backfire on you. Either the pressure mounts on your Secretary of Defense and he has to go, and you'll look even weaker for having to surrender. Or he'll stay despite all good counsel to the contrary and the disaster in Iraq will continue--or escalate--and you'll look increasingly like a pretty damn poor decider.
One thing you did apparently decide was to dump your Scott McClellan, whose resignation was all over the morning's news. I have to say I never much admired or trusted him, but that was perhaps less to do with the man than with the position he was in. There has to be a certain exhuastion factor in putting a good face on the lies and distortions you're required to feed to a well-informed press corps--no matter how compliant they may have been in the first years of McClellan's tenure of the press secretary's job. And then, daily, to have to defend a dismal history of incompetence and mismanagement. Not a job I'd envy. A good trooper for you personally, though, Bush. “I have given it my all, sir," he said, like a true gentleman, on leaving: "and I have given you my all, sir, and I will continue to do so as we transition to a new press secretary.” What a guy!
And the big shakeup continues! Your Rove, it seems, is to be relieved of a part of his job--the part you gave him last year in annointing him as your chief policy advisor--so that he can return to what he's really good at: nasty politics. Republicans everywhere will be rejoicing that he's back on the team for the fall elections--and the Democrats I'm sure will be quaking in their boots. And checking out the skeletons in their closets. I'd like to believe that Rove will have his work cut out, though: I don't foresee any great improvement in your performance between now and then. But who knows what the war president might dream up in the coming weeks and months to reverse his slide in the polls? And who knows what might yet be achieved by the grandmaster of spin?