What's that sound I'm hearing? Could it be — the pitter-patter of little rat feet?
The Bush administration is facing growing difficulties in filling a rising number of high-level vacancies following a recent spate of senior departures.
In the last 10 days alone Mr Bush has lost four senior officials and more resignations are expected to follow. “I wouldn’t describe this as disintegration,” said one senior official. “But there are worrying large gaps opening up and it is very hard to recruit high-quality people from outside.”
Gosh, I imagine it must be, considering the Bushies have such high standards. Among other things, they gave us the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq, where knowledge of Arabic and Iraqi culture took a back seat to being anti-choice and pro-Bush.
And what's that sniveling, whining sound in the corner? Could it be — Republican Congresscritters searching for their lost spines?
In a sign of the growing fissure between the White House and its congressional allies over the war, NBC News reports tonight that 11 Republican members of Congress pleaded yesterday with President Bush and his senior aides to change course in Iraq.
The group of Republicans was led by Reps. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Charlie Dent (R-PA), and the meeting included Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, and Tony Snow. One member of Congress called the discussion the “most unvarnished conversation they’ve ever had with the president,” and NBC’s Tim Russert said it “may have been a defining pivotal moment” in the Iraq debate.
Russert described the conversation:
[O]ne said “My district is prepared for defeat. We need candor, we need honesty, Mr. President.” The president responded, “I don’t want to pass this off to another president. I don’t want to pass this off, particularly, to a Democratic president,” underscoring he understood how serious the situation was.
Brian, the Republican congressman then went on to say, “The word about the war and its progress cannot come from the White House or even you, Mr. President. There is no longer any credibility. It has to come from Gen. Petraeus.” The meeting lasted an hour and 15 minutes and was, in the words of one, “remarkable for the bluntness and no-holds-barred honesty in the message delivered by all these Republican congressmen.”
Wow! The congressional rats may not yet be as bold as the outgoing Bush Junta rodents, but they're making their first cautious steps onto the gangplank, it seems. Then again, this is probably just a nice head-fake show they're putting on for their end-the-war-NOW constituents, and they could fall back meekly into line when Uncle Karl shows up. It's not as if they haven't pretended to have spines before, y'know.
But for now, it's fun to watch them squirm and squeak.