The other component to this Rumsfeld story that the MSM is absolutely loving is the group of prominent GOP senators taking the occassion to gang up on Donald Rumsfeld. Who, you ask? Well, if you even have to ask the first one, you need to be paying better attention. Of course, it's John McCain. Then we have Chuck Hagel who got a taste of the McCain Media Praise Kool-Aid and decided he liked it. We also have Susan Collins of Maine, a RINO outstrippted only by her colleagues Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Chaffee (at least Specter pretends to be conservative in election years).
The two surprises are Trent Lott and Norm Coleman. I'm rather surprised by these two, but especially Coleman. He's done such a good job on UNSCAM that this worries me a bit. Captain Ed takes this as an indicator that there is in fact something wrong and says Rumsfeld needs to be booted if it's going to cause problems with Senate support.
I think Rumsfeld is a key player, though, and I don't want to see him go any more than I want to see Condi Rice go, i.e. not at all. But I don't think this is a real issue. I'm with Rush here: this is pure media posturing. With a little blood in the water, Republicans are rushing to the microphones to see if they can't get a favorable mention in the New York Times for a change. And of course, McCain is always leading the pack, now followed closely by Hagel. So yeah, I expect this kind of thing out of McCain and Hagel and Collins, but not Lott and Coleman. Maybe Lott is looking for an article about him that doesn't include the name "Strom Thurmond."
The Captain notes that a couple GOP senators, Majority Leader Bill Frist and Majority Whip Mitch McConell, have now come out of the woodwork to defend Rumsfeld, though not very vigorously. He makes two important points:
Quelling the public revolt should have been their highest priority; instead, they appear to have dithered until the end of the week, when their statements of support would receive less attention.
If Frist and McConnell seriously wish to support Rumsfeld, then they need to get Coleman and Lott back on board. McCain, Hagel, and Collins can be disregarded.
Bush needs to call both men to the White House -- and the woodshed -- and get the troops back in line.
Now, I don't want Republican Congressmen marching lockstep with the White House; there certainly needed to be more dissent with Medicare and this intelligence bill. But again, this Rumsfeld thing is ridiculous and if Frist and McConnell can't get Coleman and Lott into line they do indeed deserve a dressing down, just like Colorado's GOP leaders got for their appalling failure last month.
There is something else at work here, though, which Rush immediately pointed out and with which I agree wholeheartedly. This media posturing is directed at making the press and the Democrats like these guys. How many times do they have to be told? It will not happen.
How many times do Republicans have to try to be liked by the media and the Dems only to get it thrown back in their faces? They do not like conservatives and they will never be nice to them. Inevitably, attempts to "reach across the aisle" wind up hurting Republicans. The Dems and the media just use them as ways to attack GOPers or to portray them as weak. What will the fallout from this be? It won't be headlines like, "Lott, Coleman make sensible demands." No, it winds up as, "GOP dissention! Is this more evidence of Bush's failure?" or "Lott, Coleman criticize Rumsfeld; Now both sides see failure in Iraq." And the Democrats see this as an excuse to scream even louder about things they don't like because now the Republicans seem like they care what the Democrats think. This is not the way to get judicial nominees confirmed.
This is also a symptom of something else Rush pointed out: Republicans don't know how to win. We just had another nationwide shellacking of the Democrats (Colorado idiocy aside) and yet we have senators busy attacking our own cabinet. We won a majority in 2000 (50-50 + Cheney) and yet Lott agreed to Tom Daschle's ridiculous proposition of dividing the committees and everything else 50-50. Then, what happened when Jim Jeffords made his Jump? With a 50-49 majority, the same differential the GOP just had, Dashcle took over and gave the Democrats the majority in everything. We must learn how to govern like we won the election. Look, I don't want single-mindedness; I want debate on real issues. What I do want is less pandering to the liberals for the sake of trying to make ourselves look good. Again, I expect this kind of nonsense from McCain and Hagel and the RINOs (note I'm not including the former with the latter), but I'm disappointed in Lott and Coleman, and it really pains me to be disappointed in Norm Coleman. Come on guys, wake up.