The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Wednesday, November 10, 2004  

Laugh or Cry, Your Choice

It's amazing to see even the smarter segments of the mainstream media are so completely clueless when it comes to understanding how the Bush administration thinks and operates. The editors of the Los Angeles Times, which last I heard included Michael Kinsley of all people, somehow found themselves able to write today, in "Step No. 1 is Reaching Out":

With the resignations Tuesday of Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft and Commerce Secretary Don Evans, President Bush can begin to make good on his pledge to reach out to the half of the country that didn't vote for him.

What pledge is that? Are they referring to the president's November 4 snark: "I'll reach out to everyone who shares out goals"? To the editors of the L.A. Times, that's reaching out to Kerry supporters.

Relieved of the burden of running for reelection, Bush is now free to pick a more centrist attorney general who will depoliticize law enforcement.

Here's a howler for you:

The president could help himself most by confounding his critics and naming a respected Democrat to the job, someone of former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell's stature. This would signal that in his second term Bush does not intend to treat the Justice Department as part of his political operation.

The Vegas Line on that one? 1,000 to 1.

Give the editors some credit, though, for this:

The same principle of moderation should apply to foreign policy. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld should be encouraged to pursue other interests. Bush would vastly enhance the credibility of his national security team if he offered the job to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Replacing Rumsfeld with Condoleezza Rice, the national security advisor, wouldn't help on the credibility front. Bush might want to bring on board Richard Haass, a skeptic on the Iraq war who ran the largely ignored State Department policy planning staff and now heads the Council on Foreign Relations. Come to think of it, Haass could replace Rice at the National Security Council. While we're at it, wouldn't Dick Cheney like to spend more time with his family?

There are some good ideas in that paragraph, but don't count on seeing constructive changes in the weeks ahead.

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