Throwing Rice

I quite agree with this observation by Ed Fitzgerald:

I think this is own major difference between George W. Bush and his father. Both obviously value loyalty to an extreme degree, but Bush Senior, being a more accomplished man himself, also has an awareness of, and respect for, competency and the abilities needed to get a job done. Bush Junior, never having had the need to complete anything himself, always having been rescued from the jams he gets into by his Poppy and Poppy’s friends and connections, clearly has no way of making an independent judgement of competency and capability, and therefore seems to rely almost totally on loyalty as his primary indication of worth. If true, this explains why we’re hearing that Bush himself is running the anti-Clarke campaign, since Clarke’s disloyalty must be punished.

Ed is riffing off an excellent piece by Steve Gilliard considering Condoleeza Rice’s competency. It is pretty clear to me that Bush has no means of evaluating competency and would thus tend to depend on narrow judgments of loyalty. He is sounding more and more Nixonian. Policymaking shaped by personal vendetta? Chilling. Not only does it explain running the campaign against Clarke personally but for me it resurrects the speculation that it was personal for him against Saddam Hussein.

US chose to ignore Rwandan genocide

“President Bill Clinton’s administration knew Rwanda was being engulfed by genocide in April 1994 but buried the information to justify its inaction, according to classified documents made available for the first time.

Senior officials privately used the word genocide within 16 days of the start of the killings, but chose not to do so publicly because the president had already decided not to intervene.” —Guardian.UK It was not only public opinion that demanded the genocide be concealed but the fact that the US was obligated under international covenants to act in response to genocide. But, on the other hand, it is doubtful an international response could have been mounted rapidly enough to stop the bulk of the killings, which started the very night the moderate Hutu president of Rwanda was killed n a mysterious plane crash and which tallied 800,000 within three months. State Dept. briefings during that period resorted to the most obscene sophistry to avoid saying the ‘g’ word. How many ‘acts of genocide’ dancing on the head of a pin does it take to make a genocide?

Why Clarke Helped Bush

Dick Morris: “If voters are focused on terrorism on Election Day, Bush will win. If their gaze is on economic issues, Kerry is likely to prevail. The struggle between the two candidates is, at its core, a competition between these two issues for domination of the national agenda.

In this context, what happened last week?

Superficially, Bush was on the defensive as Richard Clarke testified that he was not sufficiently focused on al Qaeda, had failed to respond appropriately to the 9/11 attacks and was preoccupied with Iraq. The daily tracking polls of Scott Rasmussen indicated that Kerry went from two points behind Bush when the flap started to three ahead at its peak. Rasmussen shows, however, that Kerry has since lost his lead and the race is now, again, even.

But what really happened was that the nation’s focus was further diverted from the economy onto the issue of terrorism. Kerry is not about to close the huge gap Bush has opened up on this issue. No matter what negatives emerge on Bush’s conduct in dealing with terrorism, it will still be the president’s issue.” —NY Post op-ed