Anyone but Rumsfeld
The bar is so low that any SecDef nominee would look good. But, keeping in mind Creature’s “love-in” post at State of the Day, I do think Gates looked good yesterday. Which isn’t to say I don’t have my reservations. Gates has more than his share of dirty laundry. And which isn’t to say that I think Gates is right that “it’s too soon to tell” whether or not the Iraq War was a good idea. And which isn’t to say he ought to be supported going forward, beyond his inevitable confirmation — he’s still a Bush appointee, after all, and his alleged realism may soon find itself trumped by Bush’s grand delusions.
But consider this:
Oct. 25, 2006
Bush: “Absolutely, we’re winning.”
Dec. 5, 2006
Levin: “Mr. Gates, do you believe that we are currently winning in Iraq?”
Gates: “No, sir.”
The contrast is striking. No wonder Senator Levin, who has called for phased withdrawal, said this: “What we heard this morning was a welcome breath of honest, candid realism about the situation in Iraq.”
Alright, there’s your love-in. And, I agree, it was all rather unseemly, all rather unpleasant. Couldn’t the Democrats have pressed him a bit more aggressively?
Well, sure. But he said the right things. (Indeed, the White House is already spinning him, which is a positive sign — see The Carpetbagger Report for more.)
And, above all, he’s anyone but Rumsfeld. That makes all the difference.