Junior And His “Get Me Baker” Moment
We can only thank Jeebus that George Bush is so arrogant and thick-witted that he believes his own bully boy Iraq slogans and decided to drag his war drums out and beat them in the week running up to the election. Ned Lamont's candidacy may have initially dislodged the Rahm/Chuck ballgag from the mouths of Democratic candidates who were suddenly free to talk about Iraq, but had not the President decided to launch the Mighty Wurlitzer in a phyrric battle against John Kerry just prior to election day the overwhelming Democratic victory might never have reached "wave" proportions. Even members of his own party are now giving voice to the cringing horror they felt when Junior broke into the warhawk boogie before the cameras at the most colossally ill-timed moment imaginable, wondering why he was doing the work of their opponents for them.
And there's no telling what would have happened had he decided to make the Rumsfeld sacrifice play at a time when the GOP could have capitalized on it, but when he made his post-election speech and announced that he didn't want to influence the election by replacing Rummy in advance, I'm sure I wasn't the only one thanking him for perhaps the first and only time of his presidency.
So what does this latest move signify about the realignment of powers amongst the brahmins? According to MoDo:
The president and Karl Rove, underestimating the public’s hunger for change or overestimating the loyalty of a fed-up base, did not ice Rummy in time to save the Senate from teetering Democratic. But once Sonny managed to heedlessly dynamite the Republican majority — as well as the Middle East, the Atlantic alliance and the U.S. Army — then Bush Inc., the family firm that snatched the presidency for W. in 2000, had to step in. Two trusted members of the Bush 41 war council, Mr. Baker and Robert Gates, have been dispatched to discipline the delinquent juvenile and extricate him from the mother of all messes.
Mr. Gates, already on Mr. Baker’s “How Do We Get Sonny Out of Deep Doo Doo in Iraq?” study group, left his job protecting 41’s papers at Texas A&M to return to Washington and pry the fingers of Poppy’s old nemesis, Rummy, off the Pentagon.
“They had to bring in someone from the old gang,” said someone from the old gang. “That has to make Junior uneasy. With Bob, the door is opened again to 41 and Baker and Brent.”
W. had no choice but to make an Oedipal U-turn. He couldn’t let Nancy Pelosi subpoena the cranky Rummy for hearings on Iraq. “He’s not exactly Mr. Charming or Mr. Truthful, and he’d be on TV saying something stupid,” said a Bush 41 official. “Bob can just go up to the Hill and say: ‘I don’t know. I wasn’t there when that happened.’ ”
“Baker’s no fool,” a Bush 41 official said. “He wasn’t going to go out there with a plan for Iraq and have Rummy shoot it down. He wanted a receptive audience. Everyone had to be on the same page before the plan is unveiled.”
Baker's Iraq Study Group has been the hot topic amongst the chattering class for quite some time, probably because they dragged self-important blowhards of the punditocracy such as Tom Friedman before them like he had actually been right about anything, ever, or had anything important to say. But never let it be said that time spent in excruciating boredom in the service of good PR was time wasted.
I heard Tim Russert spinning this same line on Imus this morning — Baker torpedoed Rummy and installed Robert M. Gates (member of the Baker panel) just so he wouldn't have to be battling back Rummy's bs when he unveils his Grand Schema, so this must be congealing as DC wisdom.