Friday, December 31, 2004

Everybody's Happy Nowadays...

According to Sidney Blumenthal, the purge of the Bush 41 Old Guard among the Bush administration continues.

Don't stop me now, I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball...

I've been asked a couple of times over the past few months what influence I reckon Father Bush and his people have over the White House. A lot of people seem to think it's quite a bit. My typical response is that I don't think they have much and I'd like them to have a lot more. Well, at least this serves to validate the main plank of my hypothesis...

I rather like Brent Scowcroft and it's a pity he's apparently getting canned. Probably the most noteworthy factor here is the fact that Condoleezza Rice seems to have been powerless or unwilling to stop his eviction. Given that Rice learned pretty much everything she knows at Scowcroft's feet and that Scowcroft is meant to be some sort of father figure to her, one might think she'd have come out shooting on this one. One can only assume that a) she doesn't have as much class as I thought she might or b) she simply can't hit hard enough. I suspect it's the latter. Certainly her performance during President Bush's first term has been widely perceived as demonstrating an inability to butt heads and get her act together when it came to inter-agency cat fights. Oh well, we'll see.

Robert Blackwill's departure is old news, of course. In many ways a shame - by reputation (at least from what I've heard) he was a solid operator with a better than average grasp of the intelligence process. Flawed personality though - and you can't really ignore smacking a female employee about.

Baby, love really hurts without you...

The real pisser here is the apparent rift with James Baker, whose judgement I'd trust over... well pretty much anybody, frankly. His service under both Reagan and Bush 41 was exemplary (though there are numerous areas where I'd disagree with him). He's a cynic par excellence of course - far more cynical than me... - but in spite of the fact that I go all gooey more readily than he does, I'd trust a competant and ruthless cynic more than an incompetant idealist any day of the week. I'm not sure that the entirety of President Bush's team combined is worth one James Baker. If Baker is spitting blood there's probably something wrong somewhere.

Of course, all this hinges on Sidney Blumenthal being a reliable and straight-shooting source. And from what I can tell Sidney Blumenthal is as slippery as a buttered skink. Most of it has a ring of plausibility though.


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