Sunday, December 12, 2004

Condi, Condi and the risks of loyalty

This profile of the secretary-of-state-to-be highlights the risk that Bush is taking on by making his second-term team even more of a groupthink operation.

"Besides, she's really smart!" by Julian Borger Salon 11/17/04.

Rce, who turned 50 on Sunday, has been tutoring Bush on foreign policy since 1998. She quickly emerged as the leader of the self-styled "Vulcans" who met at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, to craft a conservative strategy for the world, and it was clear that the then Texas governor had taken a shine to the elegant academic who shared his obsession with sports. "She's fun to be with," Bush said at the time. "I like lighthearted people, not people who take themselves so seriously. Besides, she's really smart!"

As national security advisor for four years, Rice has been indispensable and constantly available. She has no other life, she has never married, and a handful of dates with eligible men organized by well-meaning friends have led nowhere romantically. She spends many of her weekends at Camp David with the president, watching baseball and football and doing jigsaw puzzles with the first family. Her only time off appears to be occasional sessions playing the piano with a classical music group in Washington.

At a dinner party with some senior journalists in the spring of this year, her dedication to Bush was revealed in an extraordinary Freudian slip. "As I was telling my husb-" she blurted, before correcting herself to say, "As I was telling President Bush." It says a lot about the prim reputation of both that hardly anyone in gossip-ridden Washington interpreted the slip as a sign of a romantic connection.

The dangers of groupthink were illustrated by the quickly-failed appointment of Bernard Kerik to be director of homeland security, as Josh Marshall explains in this 12/12/04 post:

Something else [than a political debt by Bush to Rudolph Giulani] was at work. And Newsweek helps here too: "[S]ome administration officials acknowledge that the president's predilections work against a careful review. Bush hates leaks and enjoys popping surprise announcements on the press. He liked the idea of Kerik—the self-made tough guy—and he dismissed as gossip or press carping newspaper stories about Kerik's bending the rules."

So let's see. The president liked the image of Kerik. And once he got fixed on the idea that it was a crackerjack idea to put him at DHS, he dismissed all the stories about Kerik's recklessness and scofflawry as just so much whinning from the nattering nabobs of negativism.

(Remind you of anything?)

 Marshall also notes, "The emphasis on secrecy also seemed to help keep the prez from getting any disquieting information."

Get ready for four more years of this.


Anonymous said...

Bush is not the most able man that ever served in the Oval Office.  It may be unfair and innacurate for people to call him a moron, but he cannot compare to Clinton, and the challenges he faces are greater than any Bill had to contend with, thongs and willing young women aside.

Bush has made some really bad appointments -- people who are clearly not up to the job:  Rummy, Kerik and Condi are obvious examples.

We'll survive this -- but we will have wasted 8 years, and it will take another 4-8 years to undo the mischief these fools have done in our name.


Anonymous said...

Of course now, all the white house people are putting the blame for this stupidity directly on Kerik's shoulders.  He "lied" to them when questioned about his past.  Geeze... how Republican!!

That Happy Chica,
Marcia Ellen

Anonymous said...

Neil, you're quite an optimist!  And I hope you're right.

But at the current rate of damage being done, it make take us generations to clean up the mess than the Bush crew is making. - Bruce