Monday, May 08, 2006

Who's the Biggest bogeyman in the Closet

President Bush has nominated a soldier to be the next director of the CIA. Some members of Congress have stated misgivings about a military man in a civilian intelligence agency, but that is a question for other people. These questions are not without merit, but the real room for conjecture is how is this supposed to play for Republicans in the midterm elections?

Bush seems to be taking a risk, even if it is calculated, by sending the man who oversaw unwarranted, unconstitutional, and illegal wiretapping to confirmation hearings on the hill. This hasn't sunk President Bush yet, but someday it has to catch up with the administration.

The options, as I see them, are these:

1. Bush is setting up Republicans in the Senate to look strong by standing up to him, and Dems to look petulant by whining about civil rights.

2. Bush actually thinks this is still 2004 and he can push through anything he wants.

3. Bush is myopic enough to think that drawing more attention to his unwarranted, unconstitutional spying on American citizens will score him and the Republicans security points.

4. He thinks #3 and he is right.

The biggest question at this point seems to be where the administration's priorities/loyalties lie. Karl Rove is on a mission to prevent a debilitating defeat in the November ballot. Is Bush giving the Republicans a lifeline, either by beefing up their security credentials or appearing independent from the administration? Is the Bush White House really ready to play itself out as the fool once again in front of Congress (think back to Harriet Miers)? Or is Bush trying to pull defectors back into the fold with a controversial, and potentially polarizing opponent?

I fear the most likely scenario is that Rove has once again set up the Democrats. They will somehow take this bait to look petulant, wimpy on security, bungling, obstructionist, and negative all in one fell statement from Nancy Pelosi.

Or maybe, just maybe, Rove has finally lost control of the apparatus he so carefully constructed, and that machine is now casting wildly about, bent on its own destruction.

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