By Brigitte L. Nacos
Obviously shocked into action by the media hype surrounding predictions of a Democratic victory in the midterm elections, members of the cabinet have joined President Bush and Vice-President Cheney in mounting an all out end run against a possible but far from certain Democratic take-over of congress. According to the Washington Post’s Peter Baker, at a tent festival on the North Lawn of the White House, administration biggies were interviewed by dozens of radio hosts. Besides Carl Rove, others “on hand included, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, presidential counselor Dan Bartlett, White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend, and budget director Rob Portman. With all the big guns fighting the campaign war against Democrats, one wonders who is minding the store and who is directing the war against terrorism--not only during the interview blitz on the North Lawn and the wave of presidential news conferences in the pre-election months with the latest of these events earlier today.
Vice-President Cheney warned of terrible consequences if Nancy Pelosi, the Representative from California, were to become Speaker of the House. According to Baker, Cheney told radio hosts and their listeners that “Nancy is out of sync with the vast majority of the American people.Nancy represents what I think is the side of the Democratic Party that has not been aggressive of and does not believe in a really robust, aggressive prosecution of the global war on terror.”
This is a laughable argument in the face of the
administration’s record in the more than five-year old war on terror, in which Mr. Cheney and his
long-time friend Mr. Rumsfeld have called the shots and utterly failed on
literally all counts—not only in Iraq but, as we see increasingly, in Afghanistan
as well. And it should not be forgotten that the Republican majority in
Congress and most of the Democratic colleagues certainly did not interfere with
the administration’s questionable conduct of the war on terrorism at home and abroad. If there had been
more and louder voices of opposition, we would not be in the predicament we
find ourselves in today.
If the terrorist threat is as existential as the Republican
leadership tells us, it is utterly irresponsible for the President and
Vice-President to spend weeks, if not months, to engage day-in and day-out in
campaign propaganda and fundraising instead of handling the Iraq fiasco and
other failures in their global war on terror.