One of the things going on these days is a battle between the Bush administration and the intelligence pros. Neither one is willing to be the fall guy for the Iraq invasion. Bush tried to stick Tenet with it, and he’s been getting flak ever since. It looks now as if Rice is going to be the sacrificial lamb.
Hiring Rice (and Powell) was good politics. Knowing that nice liberals will be hesitant to attack them personally, the Bush administration can use either one to front for them. Republicans know very well that smears and personal insults are effective political tools, and this way they take a valuable weapon out of the Democrats’ hands. Thus, whenever there has been bad news, Rice or Powell has been sent out instead of Rumsfeld, Cheney, or Bush.
Now Rice is on the hot seat, though, and it looks like she’s being hung out to dry. Various things she’s said in the last few days don’t make sense, contradicting either other statements of hers or statements by Cheney and others in the administration. She’s doing her job all right — catching flak — but she shouldn’t expect to be thanked for it. Dick, Don, and George will let her twist in the wind awhile longer before they cut her loose.
NOTE: A friend doesn’t like to hear people saying that Rice is an affirmative-action token. That’s not really what I’m saying, though. I think that Rice is competent enough, but she chose the wrong administration to work for, and I doubt that she has the reptilian infighting skills of Rumsfeld, Perle, and Cheney. It’s really no insult to say that — and besides, she’s still young, with her whole future ahead of her.
My guess is that Wolfowitz is next. Yeah, sure, I’m all anti-Semitic and shit.
UPDATE: Frist is now signalling that he wants Rice’s testimony. Very possibly he is carrying water for the executive branch. So it looks to me that she’ll be taking the fall sooner rather than later.
SECOND UPDATE: It doesn’t seem that I was ahead of the curve at all:
Two of the creepiest Republican operatives accuse Democrats attacking Rice of racism and sexism.
Rice won’t testify publicly or under oath, but she’s showing up all over the place on TV: