Skip to comments.Rumsfeld survives cull as Bush
Posted on 12/06/2004 8:26:34 AM PST by 1066AD
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December 06, 2004
White House officials have disclosed that Donald Rumsfeld will remain Defence Secretary after weeks of speculation over his future (KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS)
Rumsfeld survives cull as Bush proves he is not for turning By Gerard Baker
LIKE unsuccessful contestants in a television reality show, members of George W. Bushs Cabinet are being culled one by one.
Last Friday, Tommy Thompson, the Health and Human Services Secretary, became the eighth member to depart. At least two and possibly four more of the fifteen-member team seem likely to go soon. The White House helpfully told us that John Snow, the Treasury Secretary, could stay as long as he liked as long as it wasnt too long. As the list grows of no-names who have returned to obscurity (be honest, did you know that Ann Veneman was Agriculture Secretary for four years?) it looks increasingly as though just one figure might make the final cut Donald Rumsfeld.
White House officials disclosed on Friday, when almost everybody had gone home for the weekend, that the Defence Secretary would stay on for the foreseeable future. The news ended weeks of intense speculation about Rummys future. Condoleezza Rices move to the State Department seemed to herald a wholesale shake-up of the first Bush foreign policy team. The Presidents close advisers had been telling people that he believed that a serious reshuffle was necessary, acknowledging that, in terms of internal co-operation and external communication, the foreign policy crowd had been somewhat dysfunctional.
The buzz from the Pentagon was that Rummy would be around for a few more months, perhaps until after Iraqs elections, but not much longer; to be replaced perhaps by a more emollient figure, perhaps even a Democrat.
That speculation is now over. White House officials made clear that they did not expect Mr Rumsfeld to serve the full second term, but hinted that his lease extension would be longer than a few months perhaps through most of 2006.
Mr Rumsfelds opponents, who include not just Democrats and European governments but conservatives unhappy at his management of the Iraq war and the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, will be disappointed. But there are three good reasons why Mr Rumsfeld will almost certainly become Mr Bushs longest- serving Cabinet member.
The first is war. You dont change a defence secretary in the middle of a war, or if you do it is to signal displeasure with the progress of that war. Mr Bush is not eager to demonstrate any displeasure with the Pentagons execution.
A second is the need to complete Mr Rumsfelds personal crusade to transform the US military into a lighter, more agile and technologically sophisticated fighting force.
But there is a third, more important, explanation for keeping Mr Rumsfeld. It signals, more emphatically than ever, that Mr Bush has no intention of deviating from the policy goals of his first term. It can mean only one thing if, as now seems likely, Mr Rumsfelds deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, also stays for a year or two, as well as Douglas Feith, the de facto No 3 and an eager neoconservative who is even more despised by the Pentagon s foes.
Shortly after the election, even as Mr Bush let it be known that he intended to follow as eagerly as ever a revolutionary foreign policy aimed at using American power to dismantle emerging threats and promote democracy, doubters were already heaping scepticism on the suggestion.
As Mr Bush repeated his goal of bringing about genuine democratic change in Iraq and the broader Middle East, State Department officials were quietly dismissive, telling allies outside the Administration that Americas principal aim in Iraq was not a successful democratic transition but hightailing it out of there as quickly as possible after the January elections.
But Mr Bush clearly believes in what he is doing not just in Iraq but across the range of foreign policy. Last week, in Canada, he laid out his strategy for Middle East peace leaving his audience in no doubt that the main change needed in the region was a real Palestinian commitment to democratic reforms rather than any action by Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister. Also last week, in a loud echo of the tensions in his first four years over Iraq, Mr Bush eloquently declined to support the continuation in office of Kofi Annan, the beleaguered Secretary-General of the United Nations.
If Mr Rumsfeld had been cut loose, it might have clouded this message, perhaps suggesting that Mr Bush was backing away from his first-term policies. The President means what he says: once again, he is not for turning.
Dr Rice is going to have her work cut out taming that lot.
This headline is rather
The President appreciates and rewards loyalty. Rumsfeld, out of all of the current cabinent members, is perhaps the only one who has been willing to fight against an entrenched govt bureaucracy in order to carry out the President's policies. Contrast Rumsfeld's tenure as the Secretary of Defense with Powell's tenure as Secretary of State and it becomes clear why Rumsfeld is staying and Powell is going.
1. A shrubbery
2. George W. himself.
The number of articles you read about this administration is not a sign of the interest. What it reflects the just how ticked off the media is. There are going to be a lot of articles about Rummy.
Will he "cull" Mineta as Secy of Transportation?
Harassing Airlines for removing potential terrorist threats from airline flights is stupid.
It's PRESIDENT Bush, you godless America hating commie!
---yes--he should have been "culled" about three years ago---
Dr Rice is going to have her work cut out taming that lot.
Indeed. I don't know if she can be successful, the culture there has been a long time in the making. But she will make life....interesting for the boys in foggy bottom.
Rather...What's the frequency, Kenneth? Oh, wrong thread? My mistake.
Good news about Rummy.
I roger, Roger.
None of the proposed measures to improve homeland security are serious unless they include getting rid of Norm Mineta and his anti-profiling phobia, a personal grudge he is nursing from WW II.
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