Rumsfeld isn’t going anywhere.

NBC Nightly News’ second story tonight is about the growing dissatisfaction with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld among the American public and Republican officials. If this sounds familiar, it’s because we just went through this earlier this year. Apparently, NBC lacks an institutional memory, because the 4-minute story (unusually long for network news shows) didn’t contain a single mention of the fact that we’ve already been here. This time, it’s Sen. Chuck Hagel, Sen. John McCain and Norman Schwarzkopf who have expressed dissatisfaction with Rumsfeld, but it doesn’t matter.

Donald RumsfeldRemember how the White House handled this last time — they did nothing. The President didn’t acknowledge the criticism, but went out of his way to laud Rumsfeld for doing great work with his war in Iraq. That was it. There was no need to react, no need to acknowledge the criticism, because the Republican control of the federal government prevents Bush from being in any way accountable.

Expect the same results this time. Those who realize that Rumsfeld is grossly incompetent can shake their fists and yell at the White House, but it’s not going to do a bit of good. Rumsfeld and Cheney are as thick as thieves, and it is they, Rove and Rice who serve as the center of power in Washington DC (with Bush carrying out their wishes, presumably). This little group would be seriously harmed without having Rumsfeld on hand, specifically as Secretary of Defense. Whatever the political cost of retaining him — which isn’t very high, I’ll warrant — it’s far preferable to having to function without him.

Don’t hold your breath.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

4 replies on “Rumsfeld isn’t going anywhere.”

  1. But why does he hold so much power? Why keep him around even though people are turning against him? I haven’t read enough background material on how he got so much power, and I honestly don’t understand why they need him badly.

  2. He and Cheney go back a long, long way. Cheney worked for Rumsfeld in Cheney’s first days in D.C., in the late 60s, when Rumsfeld headed the Office of Economic Opportunity. Under Ford, Rumsfeld was the chief of staff while Cheney was Ford’s deputy assistant. It went on from there, and quickly stopped being a case of their paths crossing, and more the two orbiting each other, as they were sucked into one another’s gravity. (If I may overextend a metaphor.)

    They’re not just friends, they’re close allies. I speculate that they’ve become codependent after all of this time, and rightly so — they’ve found that they can count on each other after all of these years. If Rumsfeld sticks around, the worst-case scenario just isn’t bad enough to matter to the White House.

  3. So we have a whole Neocon solar system goin’ on. Great.

    I’m still trying to piece together what’s in it for all of the major figureheads in D.C. It doesn’t seem as if they had the country’s interests in mind, although I’m sure that I’m being naive for even thinking they might. So what’s the deal? Halliburton? Revenge for daddy? Paying out to former friends in business through tax breaks?

  4. I wish I could say. I’m hoping that somebody smarter than me can speculate.

    Frankly, I think the bringing-about-the-Rapture theories are about as good as any others. Hence the need for somebody smarter than me. :)

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