I was just reading about how upset Republicans are at Bush for not announcing his removal of Rumsfeld until after the election, and I’m sorry, but I don’t see how they’re correct about that. Sure, that’s what Bush said. But he already admitted to having lied about this before the election and there’s no reason to suspect that he’s turned to honesty now. Because I’m fairly positive that Rummy was only removed because the Democrats had gained the ability to investigate the handling of the war and that Rummy’s got a lot of skeletons in his closet. I wouldn’t doubt if he’s secretly lawyering up right now. And there’s almost no way this would have happened had the Republicans won.
Sure, that’s entirely speculative on my part, but I don’t think the other option is likely. I mean, the Bushies acting in a non-partisan fashion before an election? I don’t think so. And it’s even more unlikely that they’d have blundered as badly as they did. I have no doubts that they war-gamed this scenario pretty well and realized that having Rummy around during some potentially brutal investigations was the last thing they wanted. And it’s better to toss him over before the subpoenas start flying than afterwards. But had the GOP won, there would have been no subpoenas or any other form of accountability, and thus no reason to toss Rumsfeld out.
In the end, they kept Rummy because he knew where all the bodies were buried, including the many he hid. And the last thing they’d want was to have a new guy come in and start digging around. Even a loyal Republican was likely to accidentally stumble upon something that the Bushies wouldn’t want known. And as John Dean, Paul O’Neill, and a few other Republican whistleblowers have shown; being Republican is no assurance that a person lacks integrity. Sometimes, a few weeds slip through the cracks, and that wasn’t a chance the Bushies wanted to take.
But now that the Dems are likely to be sniffing around, there’s no point in keeping Rummy anymore and he’s become a big liability. After all, it’s always better to say that a former administration official was under investigation than a current one. And so while it would have been better to replace Rummy before the election, the Bushies were gambling that they wouldn’t have to replace him at all. And as usual, they lost that bet.