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Turning Tables


There is one sure-fire way President George Bush – despite everything—can get himself re-elected.
He can make Secretary of State Colin Powell his vice president.

Consider the number of hearings and investigations going on in Washington. It’s quite a list. A list this long – the sheer number of questions – means someone’s head is going to roll.
We can go from horrible to just plain bad. There’s the Congressional investigation of U.S soldiers and CIA behavior toward prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraqi. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is taking the heat for this right now. But his willingness to take on all the blame may not be enough. Particularly since investigations into the odd activities of now-disgraced Pentagon pet Iraqi Ahmed Chalabi seem to be focused on – guess where? – the Pentagon. Likely suspects? The usual band of neocon hawks who were charged with coming up with the U.S. Iraq plan: Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz. These are the same guys – long time associates of the vice president’s — who claimed to have weapons and other intelligence superior to the CIA’s. Cheney’s chief of staff Scooter Libby is on the hot seat as a grand jury investigates who gave information about CIA agent Valerie Plame to columnist Bob Novak.
And, as they say on late-night, TV. That’s not all. The 911 Commission is investigating the World Trade Center bombing and while the commission has been publicly polite, they have been less than pleased with the administration. Its report is likely to be very blunt. There’s another commission – two, actually if you count the one in London – investigating the now-missing but still threatening weapons of mass destruction. That group starts working in earnest this summer. Sen. Chuck Robb, head of the weapons commission isn’t a political rock star but commission member Sen. John McCain is. That’s going to make for some more tough questioning, hopefully as tough as what McCain has asked of Rumsfeld and his underlings. Someone has to ask the CIA about the visit Cheney paid to talk about its pre-war weapons intelligence. What exactly happened at that meeting?
On too many things, in too many ways, Cheney’s the guy in the middle. It helps, of course, that he has a good excuse if he wants to leave: His heart. And his exit, in disgrace or in grace, would pretty much change how people see this White House because Cheney’s not liked. He’s feared. And he’s suspected.
What, then, about Powell? Funny, he’s still around. As Secretary of State, Powell has been lied to, ignored and misled. More than one sage pundit has suggested he quit. Now, he’s getting as far away from the weapons controversy as he can. State is also having a good laugh about the Chalabi mess, too. The longer he lingers, the better Powell looks.
Why is Powell still around? Well, maybe he likes being proved right. It’s gotta feel good. And certainly, like Cheney and Rumsfeld, he feels a strong loyalty to the Bush family. And he must realize that of anyone in that circle, he is the best able, the most qualified, to get the U.S. out of the mess of a Middle East policy that’s been created. Powell is still liked overseas. He is a retired four star general and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He knows how the Pentagon works; he’s fought in the Middle East and conducted diplomacy there. Oh, yeah, and if he were nominated to be vice president, he’d be the first black man – also the son of two Jamaican immigrants — to hold the job. This last part, for a family that likes its place in history, is very important because second presidential terms are as much about securing a place in history as anything else. Right now, the Bush family political legacy is floundering. Colin Powell could help. Help a lot.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 7:25 AM | Permalink

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