David Cloud’s piece on Donald Rumsfeld in today’s New York Times is par for the course on how this administration’s players are treated whenever they attempt to answer their critics. This customary and necessary practice for a political official somehow acquires a taint of scandal and intrigue when that official is employed within the Bush administration. The article’s title says it all: “Here's Donny! In His Defense, a Show Is Born.” But evidence for this “show” is rather thin. Cloud describes the Defense Secretary’s rebuttals to calls for his resignation as “a daily ritual,” before noting that yesterday’s Rumsfeld press conference was merely the third in five days. He describes the “extraordinary parade of generals,” including a “bevy of retired officers,” who have joined the plot to defend Rumsfeld, but names only Generals Myers and Franks.
Cloud even bemoans that the Bush administration people aren’t going through their customary, shadowy back channels to defend Rumsfeld:
"Such extended repeated public displays of self-defense are not the norm in
So Rumsfeld, in producing his “show,” has apparently acknowledged that criticism does matter, and has decided to answer it himself. But – surprise! – he can’t win.