Say what? Rumsfeld out?

I’m in a Rove-induced state of total confusion. Suddenly, Rumsfeld resigns. Huh? Why now? Why not last week, when it might have affected the election? What game is going to be played here?

(Yeah, I’ve heard the Rumsfeld→retirement, Lieberman→Defense, Unnamed Republican appointee→Lieberman’s seat triple-play to preserve the Republican majority in the Senate, but to be so blatant and do it the day after the election doesn’t seem reasonable.)

(Oh…maybe my mistake is assuming “reason” in this administration. “Naked bugnut greed” is more the operational expectation.)


  1. JohnPhys says

    I’m hoping I can take this as a “Christmas comes early” event. Also, it seems like Bush is going to tap former CIA Chief Gates (whoever that is) as his nominee.

    Though, just to be conspiracy-esque, the administration might just be waiting until confirmation that the senate does go dem to try something like a Lieberman yank.

  2. Steve_C says

    I think it does two things.

    1. It lessens the impact of any oversight hearings that would have forced his bad decisions out in the open. It provides a scapegoat. I’m guessing that it’s Rummy’s decision. I bet he can’t bare the thought of being called to account for is complete and minblowing incompetence. He would of gotten reamed on national TV. He may still get reamed. He can still be called to testify.

    2. It shows some act of contrition by Bush. But he’ll probably still never admit it.

  3. Brian X says


    I wouldn’t call it a paranoid fantasy, per se, as it was quite talked about during the late-night analysis last night, including on Fox.

  4. says

    I think the move is on to salvage a chance for a Republican president in ’08. The fact that this comes the morning after the Democrats took control of the House, and are, as I write this, one seat (Virginia) from control of the Senate, tells me that the remainder of the Bush presidency will be devoted to damage control.

  5. says

    At it’s explained that Bush admitted he lied about his loyalty to Rumsfield, but waited until after the election. “I’m sure that the troops who died in the last week are comforted.”

    As for the Lieberman for Lieberman move (and you know his vanity would force him to hand the Senate to the GOP in a heartbeat), CNN says fmr. CIA chief Robert Gates was offered the job.

    The best we could hope for from a Sec. of Defense Lieberman is that at last our troops would not be allowed to play any violent videogames.

  6. Hank Fox says

    Could be Rumsfeld is just tired of the uproar. Viciously stupid people have feelings too.

  7. Steve_C says

    Ummm… but he has to be confirmed by congress. Ha!
    Remember, Bush appointees do not get a free pass anymore.

    Remember Iran/Contra?


    Robert M. Gates was the Central Intelligence Agency’s deputy director for intelligence (DDI) from 1982 to 1986. He was confirmed as the CIA’s deputy director of central intelligence (DDCI) in April of 1986 and became acting director of central intelligence in December of that same year. Owing to his senior status in the CIA, Gates was close to many figures who played significant roles in the Iran/contra affair and was in a position to have known of their activities.

  8. llewelly says

    Remember Iran/Contra?

    If America could remember the Cold War, the 2004 presidential debate would have been laughed at like a comedy by the 3 stooges.
    Only Kossacks, liberals, and outright communists remember Iran/Contra.

    If the Dems wish to raise concern about Robert Gates, they must begin by re-educating America about basic facts of history such as Iran/Contra – an episode which has been quite relevant ever since Bush began pounding the war drums for Iraq invasion. Yet the Dems all along have had little to say about the Iran/Contra scandal and what it revealed about the Iran-Iraq war, much less its implications for any invasion of Iraq.

  9. says

    It’s an attempt to get the news and punditry to talk about that instead of the huge Democratic wins. That’s what they do when there’s news they don’t like; they manufacture some counternews and push it.

  10. J-Dog says

    To: The Constructivist – I think you are on to something here… Rummy as a sacrifical lamb? Yes!

    He could (A)go to Iraq, get himself kidnapped, then blow them and himself up as a suicide bomber, or (B) go to Iraq or Afghanistan , offer himself up to some Al Quida operative, and as a peace offereing, get his head chopped off on live TV!

    Either way, we win. Of course things would be not so good for Rummy, but hey, he’s old, not got a lot of years left in him anyway, and either way he gets to go out in a blaze of glory and actually accomplish something positive!

    Personally, I am leaning toward Rummy as the Suicide Bmber, as it seems to fit his personality type best. Is this what you meant by sacrifcial lamb?!

  11. Steve_C says

    I’m all but a communist llewlly.

    I think they can turn him down an the mere fact that its the same people who keep getting it all wrong.

    Didn’t Ortega just get elected President?

  12. says

    Suddenly, Rumsfeld resigns. Huh? Why now?

    Was fired, I think.

    As to why now … because, unless he was sure he couldn’t continue as he had been, that Texan idiot was not gonna back down.

    Duh-bya is, fundamentally, a bully … and a coward. He’s all “Bring it on” when he’s sure he has backing; when he knows he’s on his own, his balls disappear.

    This isn’t surprising. It’s how the spineless and worthless have always behaved.

    The news is good on my end too; Arizona is destined to be officially non-smoking, and the religious filth lost out in their obscene “protect marriage” gambit as well.

    What I can’t get over is how f*cking good it feels to see all this happening. It’s like 1992 all over again.

  13. MReap says

    Gates is currently President of Texas A&M. He’s pretty well liked by the faculty. Not as revered as Frank Vandiver, who took the place to a much higher level.

  14. says

    Looks like Hastert’s next, according to Time. For me, the really fun part will be watching Republicans tearing into each other for the next two years. However they choose to sacrifice each other is fine by me.

  15. says

    If this had happened a few months ago, my ticket would have been considerably less split in voting. Now that they got their “thumpin’,” they can admit to some mistakes; their stubborn refusal to do so until now, I would think, cost them quite a few independents and non-religious conservatives.

  16. says

    It’s such a lame attempt by Bush to keep the fire under his ass as small as possible.

    His shitty performance isn’t any worse today than it would be if the GOP had won.

  17. Sonja says

    Rummy knows his job just isn’t going to be very much fun with a Dem majority in Congress. Remember, he’s basically been able to do everything he wants with no accountability for 6 years.

  18. says

    This is good news. It gives me hope for a change. I hope the next sacrifice is Rove. I would throw a party if he were canned.

  19. Steve_C says

    Rummy may still be called before congress to explain himself.
    His incompetence borders on criminal.

    I suspect there to be many many people jumping overboard from the Bush administration.

    And all the appointments will have to be voted on. Also a split senate or Dem senate does make it less likely a stealth conservative can replace Stevens on the Supreme Court.

  20. Patrick says

    Madam Pomfrey,

    He can still be called to account. If there are hearings or subpoenas, he can receive one and be called to testify. He’s not getting out of anything in that sense. He is still responsible for his decisions.

    I think the timing is interested, and perhaps not really planned. Just last week Bush was saying Rummy would be there til ’08. Rummy has offered his resignation several times but it was always turned down. Perhaps he finally made it clear that it’s not up for discussion anymore and he’s leaving. I definitely don’t think he was fired.

    It also serves as a sacrificial lamb (planned or not) and does signal a shift or potential shift of direction. New leadership bringing new ideas, change, etc. We’ll see.

    To the post about Rove, he’s not going anywhere. He’s too important and irreplaceable in Bush’s administration.

  21. KeithB says

    Well, after all the “THE Math” talk from Carl, I am sure he is just as Lame a duck. He can’t be trusted to be able to pull out a win anymore.

    Unless what he privately said was much different than what he publically said – i.e., he was lying.

  22. quork says

    This is a shameless attempt by Dubya to distract attention from Britney Spears’ divorce.

  23. quork says

    Look for the new SecDef to announce that we can make substantial progress in Iraq “in twelve to eighteen months.” It’s been that way for three years, always “twelve to eighteen months” away.

  24. JamesR says

    Rummy’s sudden departure is more proof that this admin. is composed of gutless sissies who are unable to come to terms with their ineptitude. All the players of Bush 41 have been recycled through this admin. GW does not have anything going for him now that his Rethuglicans are in the minority.

  25. Patrick says


    No doubt that what Rove said behind was closed doors was different than what he was saying publicly. It was an attempt to get inside the Democrats and voters heads. I don’t think anyone was really surprised at what happened yesterday.

    And really, it’s not as big a win as it seems. We got a lot of lackluster dems sitting in those seats now. For example, Santorum’s opponent is a putz. The dems still lack a coherent agdenda and ieology. They won b/c they aren’t republicans and right now republicans = bad. Rove knows this. So does Delay. They’ll be back in ’08 unless the dems can pull it together.

  26. Steve_C says

    Tester is the official winner in Montana and it looks like Allen will not seek a recount in Virginia. He’s 7000 votes behind and the final canvasing of the vote will note overcome that number. AMAZING!

  27. Steve LaBonne says

    Dem senate, Steve_C, not split. I predict Allen won’t even ask for a recount. He didn’t really want to be Senator, he wanted a launching pad to the White House. And that’s all gone now.

  28. Bilbo says

    I’m not sure why Rummy is leaving now, but it’s a good start. One rat down, two to go (Cheney and Bush).

  29. Buffalo Gal says

    Bush & company knew what the polls were saying before the election – they quietly made contingency plans in case the polls were right. I suspect that if the election turned out differently, Rummy would be safe. Although as PZ says, dumping him before the election may have made a difference.

    By the way, Bush looked like he been taken to the woodshed at the press conference – nice to see him without the smirk. He tried a couple of lame jokes. When one finally got a laugh, the look of relief on his face was unmistakable.

  30. says

    “Sounds like sacrificial lamb #1 to me. Wonder how many other sacrifices we’ll see in the coming days. Is it too much to hope for a Cheney resignation?”

    Gates is one of Poppy’s boys. Perhaps Bush XLI is trying to rescue Junior from another mess. It’s just speculation, but if that’s the case, then Cheney will at best be marginalized.

  31. Derick Ovenall says

    God put Bush in the White House and God told Bush to invade Iraq. God doesn’t make mistakes. That’s why Bush himself is incapable of admitting that he makes mistakes. Rememember that Bush when asked which political philosopher had influenced him the most, replied, “Jesus Christ”. And he didn’t intend that remark as an expletive! My guess is that Rummy insisted on falling on his sword “for the greater good of the party”. Or maybe Bush is as adept at compartmentalizing his thoughts as Ted Haggard and Mike Foley were.

  32. Ichthyic says

    I’m in a Rove-induced state of total confusion. Suddenly, Rumsfeld resigns. Huh? Why now? Why not last week, when it might have affected the election? What game is going to be played here?

    here’s the deal.

    One, if you saw Bush’s press conference this morning, uh, the man was completely lost and rambling for most of it. really. It was hard to watch him squirm, even though my level of shadenfreude induced euphoria over the week’s events was still going strong.

    Point is, He is obviously in panic mode at this point, as all of his advisors apparently didn’t have a clue how bad the election was going to turn out for them.

    two, general conservative analysts have remarked on the success of Arnie’s turnabout after the horrible flaming crashdive his initiatives took in the CA ballots earlier, and most commented that Schwarzenegger’s will become the “model” for the conservative run at the presidency in 08. So, ditching rummy was the best advice coming from most of the general conservative commentators last night, and it appears that there are “sacrifices for the party” in order at this point. Moreover, the wording of much of Bush’s commentary last night and today regarding “cooperation” one might have thought he took directly from Arnie’s speech after his initiatives flamed out.

    expect a concerted move on the administration’s part to quickly pass minor democratic legislation as a “sign of cooperation”.

    it sure worked for Arnie.

  33. says

    While the timing argues against this, I think he just woke up and realized that a) he’s getting too old for this shit, b) this wasn’t the job he signed up for[1], and c) the prospect of facing a now-hostile Armed Services Committee was the icing on the cake.

    The timing certainly argues for an external force pushing him out, but I think he really is tired, and he’s going to be the focus for a lot of ire from Congress. By getting out now he’s saving what’s left of his health and taking some heat off of the Administration.

    1. Rumsfeld’s dream was to transform the US military into a lighter, more nimble force; unfortunately, the situation in Iraq has pointed out the gaping holes in that vision.

  34. Carlie says

    Re: Virginia, I don’t think it matters what Allen wants. If the margin is narrow enough, it will trigger an automatic recount. According to Matt Lauer this morning the 7000 vote margin is within the auto-recount range.

  35. CCP says

    just a note of baseball pedantry re the OP: paranoid or not, the described personnel shift w/ Lieberman and a CT Republican To Be Named Later ought to be called a double switch, not a “triple play.” (Only one guy’s out, for one thing.) I understand how one might not get that if one were a fan of some far north DH-batting American League team.
    Now, Rumsfeld, Santorum AND Pombo–THAT’s a triple play!

  36. stogoe says

    Screw Matt Lauer. He’s a hack, less of a journalist than Katie “Colonoscopy” Couric, and that’s saying something. I hope both those gutless twits (Lauer and “Limbaugh-love” Couric) are given the piss-poor ratings they deserve.

    But he’s probably right about the recount.

  37. Steve_C says

    I know if it’s less than .5% it CAN trigger a recount, but I’m not sure if it’s automatic.
    After the election is certified Allan may choose to concede if he hasn’t closed the gap more. 7000 is virtually impossible to overcome in a recount.

  38. Steve LaBonne says

    Lauer is a moron. There are no automatic recounts in VA. The loser can request a recount if the margin is less than 1%, to be payed for by the state and local governments if the margin is less than 0.5%. But there is no recount without a candidate request.

  39. AlanW says

    Is it too much to hope for a Cheney resignation?
    I’d settle for a heart attack, followed closely by cancer, BSE, and a plague of boils for the rest of them.
    Having a hard time wrapping my head around (a) that this was tight race in the first place…so much obvious incompetence and scandal and (b) that despite all their dirty tricks in place, the repugs are losing.

  40. Steve LaBonne says

    If Webb’s margin holds up, or even stays above 100 votes or so (really a sure thing), in the canvassing over the next few days, there is precisely zero possibility that a recount could change the result. (In the recent past VA statewide recounts have moved the certified totals by something like 20 votes.) So it’s a few days from now that I expect Allen will throw in the towel.

  41. Carlie says

    That’s what I get for stopping on the first channel I found that was spouting election news. Maybe it was Montana that has a legislatively-mandated recount if it’s less than 1%? He was talking about it as if they both had the same election laws in place. Then again, I also had two kids clamoring for breakfast, so I may have not been paying close enough attention.

  42. says

    Rememember that Bush when asked which political philosopher had influenced him the most, replied, “Jesus Christ”.

    And also remember that when asked to explain his selection, he said “If you don’t already know, then I can’t explain it to you.”

  43. Kseniya says

    I haven’t been a voter for very long, but recent history seems to show us that the last two years of any two-term Presidency is consumed by “damage control.”

    * Nixon: Watergate
    * Reagan: Iran-Contra
    * Clinton: Philandering and related Perjury
    * Bush: Where to begin? His gang makes the other guys look like amateurs

    (Hidden bonus game: “Which one of these four is NOT like the other three?”)

    Maybe after four years in office, followed by re-election and all that implies, people with that much power at their fingertips lose perspective on just what the limits of that power is supposed to be. A strange mix of complacency, arrogance, greed, and moral/spiritual bankruptcy sets in…

    I’d love to see Rove take a dive before this is all over. He’s a man without a conscience. Prince Machiavelli was not a Founding Father of this great country, dammit. (Neither were Bottai or D’Annunzio. I don’t care what Michael Ledeen thinks.)

    Speaking of spiritual bankrupt, has anyone seen E. L. Doctrow’s indictment of George W. Bush? It’s stunning. I don’t know whose baby to have – his, or Olberman’s. Keith is a lot younger, I guess… :-)

  44. Azkyroth says

    Speaking of spiritual bankrupt, has anyone seen E. L. Doctrow’s indictment of George W. Bush? It’s stunning. I don’t know whose baby to have – his, or Olberman’s. Keith is a lot younger, I guess… :-)

    Easily resolved with some assistance, a cocktail mixer, and a syringe… :P

    As for Rumsfeld resigning, I don’t know what to think. I hope Congress doesn’t leave him alone, though. I’d like to see the whole administration go on trial, like at Nuremberg, because at this point it’s damn well warranted…

    I’m pre-drafting an open letter to the new Democratic congress. I like the closing statement I’ve chosen: “The outcome of this election shows that, at long last, the American people have recognized the vampire in their midst. We are counting on you to drive the stake.” (Excessively optimistic, I suppose, but great speeches pretty much need to be).

  45. Buffalo Gal says

    Yes, Askyroth, the hope is that Congress will demand some accountability. Impeaching Bush is probably off the table because there’s not enough support for it in the Senate, but certainly investigations resulting in reprimands and censure are possible. I think we have to rattle the congresscritters’ cages. I’m usually not a letter-to-my-Senator person, but that may be about to change.

  46. Graculus says

    Only Kossacks, liberals, and outright communists remember Iran/Contra.

    And Daniel Ortega, who is once again president of Nicaragua.

  47. Chris says

    The (suddenly appearing) myth of the inevitable sixth-year loss is just that, a myth. Clinton’s party made *gains* in the 1998 elections.

    A president’s party loses ground in midterms if the president is unpopular. Clinton, despite the impeachment circus, wasn’t. Bush is still at sub-Nixon approval ratings.

    Allen will have the right to demand a recount if the margin is less than 1% (almost certainly). If it’s over 0.5% he has to fund the recount himself if he loses. However, if Steve’s information is correct, his chances of *winning* the recount would be near zero, so someone like Rove or Mehlman might quietly take him aside and offer him some cozy think-tank post if he will drop the issue and not create a noisy embarrassment for the party.

  48. David Harmon says

    Well, besides losing his free ride in Congress, the military is getting progressively more ticked off at him. With that Army Times editorial to set the mood, things could have gotten very bad indeed.

  49. Steve LaBonne says

    …someone like Rove or Mehlman might quietly take him aside and offer him some cozy think-tank post if he will drop the issue and not create a noisy embarrassment for the party.

    This scenario is already in progress via their “new media” mouthpieces- RedState and James Taranto have already urged Allen not to ask for a recount.

  50. hank says

    Rumsfeld will be arranging for the purchase of Austria. With Austria brought into the Union as the 51st State, Arnie will be in line for the Presidency.

  51. llewelly says

    Only Kossacks, liberals, and outright communists remember Iran/Contra.

    And Daniel Ortega, who is once again president of Nicaragua.

    Well, he was certainly an outright communist in the old days. Even today, other than his appeals to God and his revolting stance on abortion, he still looks like a communist to me.

  52. Kseniya says

    Chris, what I wrote has nothing to do with sixth-year mid-ter elections, and there is no myth about Watergate, Iran-Contra, or Monicagate. However, you have answered (at least on one level) the question of “which one of these is not like the other ones?”