Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who gets Thrown Under the Bus Next?

Every President has to throw supporters and aides under the bus.

When Presidents flounder, some aide must make the ultimate political sacrifice. When major initiatives, such as health care reform fail, someone has to pay the price.

President Nixon, for example, had to throw Erlichman and Haldeman under the bus, or more precisely, to the Watergate prosecutors. It didn’t save his Presidency, but may have bought time.

President Obama tossed the Reverend Jeremiah Wright aside during the campaign. The candidate claimed not to have heard any of the Reverend’s racist and anti-American rants in 20 years of worshiping at his church, but seems to be pursuing the Reverend’s social agenda in Washington.

Van Jones, Special Advisor for Green Jobs, technically resigned in September after disclosures he once claimed to be a communist. “Better red than green” did not play well even in the Obama Administration.

Anita Dunn, Interim Communications Director, left in November after a video surfaced of her at a high school graduation saying Mother Theresa and Chairman Mao were her favorite political philosophers.

So who should be next on the list?
Ben Bernancke
Tim Geithner
Rahm Emanuel
David Axlerod
Robert Gibbs
Harry Reid
Arlen Specter
Eric Holder
Janet Napolitano
Chairman of the Democratic National Committee

Chairman Ben Bernancke of the Federal Reserve Bank faced sustained opposition in the Senate on his reappointment. Someone should be a scapegoat for the bank failures last year, but the President supports him, and the Senate just confirmed him.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the Turbo Tax cheat, is much more deserving of being tossed, perhaps even keel-hauled, under the bus. He though has great bureaucratic survival skills. President Obama went out of his way before the State of the Union Speech to embrace the Secretary. Hence, he seems safe, at least for now.

Rahm, “Rahmbo,” Emanuel is the President’s Chief of Staff. As such, Rahm is the designated flak catcher for the Administration. A graduate of the Chicago Bare Knuckles School of Politics, Rahm takes no prisoners, and is increasingly building up an extensive bipartisan list of politicians who would love to drive the bus.

Emanuel is rumored to be considering a run for Blago’s old governorship in Illinois. He should do so. That bus has not yet left the station.

Attorney General Eric Holder is filling his resume with bad decisions affecting the national security. He precipitously moved many of the GItmo detainees to federal court in New York for trial, instead of continuing the military tribunals already under way. More significantly, after only 50 minutes of a desultory interrogation, he had the previously loquacious, Christmas Day bomber Mirandized, retained an attorney, and then zipper his lips. Without telling any of the Homeland Security and National Security officials, Holder turned the case into a criminal investigation instead of part of the War Against Terror.

Of course, Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of Homeland Security, durst not use the phrase “War Against Terror.” Instead, she calls it “human caused disasters.” Her agency prepared a report last year arguing that the biggest terrorist risk faced by America is from returning veterans.

Right after the capture of the Christmas Bomber, she stated “the system had worked.” Only luck, and not the system, averted a tragic airline bombing.

The terrorist was a classic case for additional screening, but someone missed the obvious signs. He bought a one-way ticket to Detroit for cash, checked no luggage, and had no coat while flying into Detroit during winter.

Someone’s political head should roll for that.

President Obama has a major problem with his Administration’s efforts against terrorists. The government is still lacking a permanent director of the Transportation Security Agency as we enter the second year of President Obama’s term.

The President waited eight months before nominating Errol Southers to direct the TSA. Errol ran into substantial opposition in the Senate, misspoke to the Senate during his confirmation hearings, and withdrew his nomination on January 19, 2010.
Withdrawal before confirmation does not qualify for ejection from the bus. He simply missed the bus.

The Christmas Day Bomber revealed a critical gap in the Administration’s efforts to safeguard Americans. The President announced in August the creation of HIG, a “High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.” The purpose is to have expert teams available to interrogate these suspects, and retrieve valuable information to protect us.

We now know that HIG is not yet operational. That bus is out of service.

David Axelrod, the chief campaign advisor for President Obama, is also a graduate of the Chicago School of Bare Knuckles Politics. He let President Obama pursue his statist dreams rather than applying the critical political contribution of President Clinton “It’s the economy, stupid.” President Obama needs Axelrod too much to abandon him. That bus is going nowhere, but doesn’t know it yet.

Senator Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, has uttered more gaffes lately than Vice President Biden, who seems to be muzzled. The Senator appears hapless and a living exemplar of the Peter Principle in action. He was filmed nodding off during the President’s State of the Union Speech. But then, so did I.

Senator Specter’s switch back to the Democratic Party from the Republicans has won no fans in either party. His contemptuous putdown of Representative, the lady, Michelle Bachman illustrates he’s past his prime.

Both Reid’s and Specter’s seats may go Republican in November. They should emulate Senator Dodd’s example, fall on their swords under the bus, and retire to the end of the line.

Robert Gibbs is clearly the most ineffectual Presidential Press Secretary in my lifetime. He had a facial transplant to eternally capture the deer in the headlights look in respond to every reporter’s question.

Fortunately for President Obama, the President has great oratorical powers. Gibbs though is a poor public face for the Obama Administration. One of the jokes about President Ford is that he played football too long without a helmet. Gibbs comes across as having been hit by too many soccer balls earlier in life.

The Democrats just lost three major elections, governorships in New Jersey and Virginia, and Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat in Massachusetts. Someone should walk the plank. The chair of the DNC is an obvious candidate, but I don’t even know who he is. Enough said.

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