You're outta there, Rummy
Last time I was on an airplane, the breaking news was the NJ ruling on same-sex marriage. This time, I’m sitting in Reagan National Airport and I hear Rumsfeld resigned. What timing! I see Russ posted on this as well.
The funny thing was, about a half hour earlier, I stopped on my way to the airport for a quick brunch with the Americablog folks and friends, and we were flipping between channels looking at the recent developments (Pending Senate results for Virginia — in flux — and Montana, which has now been called for Dem Jon Tester), and we heard that Bush would have a “special announcement” at his 1PM press conference. I immediately said that it was going to be about Rumsfeld, and a few folks laughed. Heheheheh.
The Iraq war was the central issue of Rumsfeld’s nearly six-year tenure, and unhappiness with the war was a major element of voter dissatisfaction Tuesday – and the main impetus for his departure. Even some GOP lawmakers in Congress became critical of the war’s management, and growing numbers of politicians were urging Bush to replace Rumsfeld.
Bush said Robert M. Gates, 63, who has served in a variety of national security jobs under six previous presidents, would be nominated to replace Rumsfeld. Gates, currently the president of Texas A&M; University, is a Bush family friend and a member of an independent group studying the way ahead in Iraq.
“Secretary Rumsfeld and I agreed that sometimes it’s necessary to have a fresh perspective,” Bush said in the abrupt announcement during a postelection news conference.
After all, Chimpy got his Iraq agenda’s butt kicked last night in the elections; the situation in Iraq is so FUBAR that change is absolutely necessary — what that change will look like, working with the Dems in control, remains to be seen.
The big question I have is why now? Yes, a change was needed to try to get the spotlight off of his “stay the course” policy and the incompetence of Rumsfeld was a big open sore on the administration, but Bush is a political animal. It made no sense to dump Rummy now; he should have done it a couple of weeks ago when candidates in his party — feeling heat on the campaign trail about Iraq — were calling for change, including Rummy’s head on a platter to show the president was serious about a fresh policy. Also, since he clearly had a replacement in mind — Robert Gates — this decision didn’t happen overnight.
The whole sequence of events is weird — last week Bush lied to the MSM, saying he had full faith in Rumsfeld (and Cheney) and that they would “remain with him until the end of his presidency” (see the video of the lying liar here), yet today he drop-kicked the man out the Pentagon door.
Did Bush intentionally not tell Republican Iraq critics running for office that he planned to replace Rumsfeld, when that news could have stopped some of them from losing? It…makes…no…sense.