Secretary Rumsfeld “resigned” yesterday.
Most interesting to me is the timing. I haven’t seen any pundits anywhere say so, but to me the President’s announcement smacks of diversion, as a way of making big news himself the day after the Democrats made such big news of their own. He says that he would have been announcing Rumsfeld’s “resignation” either way, win or lose, but I don’t believe him.
And I say that I don’t believe him, I can say that the President is simply lying, because in his press conference the President admits to having lied about Rumsfeld’s tenure only a week before. (Emphasis mine.):
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Last week you told us that Secretary Rumsfeld will be staying on. Why is the timing right now for this, and how much does it have to do with the election results?
THE PRESIDENT: Right. No, you and Hunt and Keil came in the Oval Office, and Hunt asked me the question one week before the campaign, and basically it was, are you going to do something about Rumsfeld and the Vice President? And my answer was, they’re going to stay on. And the reason why is I didn’t want to inject a major decision about this war in the final days of a campaign. And so the only way to answer that question and to get you on to another question was to give you that answer.
The truth of the matter is, as well — I mean, that’s one reason I gave the answer, but the other reason why is I hadn’t had a chance to visit with Bob Gates yet, and I hadn’t had my final conversation with Don Rumsfeld yet at that point.
The President lies. The President admits to lying. Nobody much notices or cares.*
But what it makes me think of more is, after the Republican revolution in 1994, Speaker Gingrich seemed to be the bigger figure in Washington. There was even a press conference where a reporter asked President Clinton if he, if the presidency, were still relevant. I’m sure that’s why President Bush is if front of reporters and announcing major changes. To insist that he’s still relevant.
It’s a politically smart move, but then nobody ever accused this guy of being politically dumb.
And the long knives are out not just for Rumsfeld, though. News today is Ken Mehlman is “resigning” as well. Or, rather, not running for a second term as chair of the RNC. Looks like he’s taking the fall, for Libby Dole at the NRSC, for Tom Reynolds at the NRCC, but even more so for Karl Rove, the Emperor to Mehlman’s Darth Vader. (Or, Mehlman is to Rove what Rove used to be to Lee Atwater, and the lot of them being the bad cops to Bush good cops.)
* Now, if he’d lied about having sex with that woman, now that’d be some news, wouldn’t it?