Jewish World Review Dec. 9, 2002/ 4 Teves, 5763

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Let the sacking begin


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Paul O'Neill should have been given the big hook immediately after he returned from his May African tour with U2's Bono. A cabinet official, side-by-side with a whiney flower child, both in turbans and robes, was a comedic presence not witnessed since Moe and Curly dressed as Little Lord Fauntleroys.

What was the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury planning to do? Bring puts, calls, options, and Tupperware to the Masai? O'Neill drifted a tad off message. Our stock market was leap-frogging 234 points per day and one of the key players on economic policy was on a crusade for AIDS with a post-40 rock star from Dublin who still hasn't found what he's looking for, as it were.

Larry Lindsey, now former head of the president's Council of Economic Advisors, and long overdue oustee, is, in the artful phrasing of economist Professor Steve Happel, "a clown." Whilst serving on the Federal Reserve Board, he was denied a Toys R Us Visa because, he explained, computers deny apps from those who have not lived sufficiently long at one address. He blustered about human discernment. The man who chiseled economic policy was denied credit at Toys R Us. He also advised getting out of the stock market in 2001. Confidence-inspiring financial leadership is not his forte.

As these two lost fiscal souls departed, doofus John DiIulio spun yarns to Ron Suskind for Esquire about the dearth of policy wonks in the Bush administration. He later apologized and retracted the statements. Another stable appointee.

DiIulio, a Democrat, was named by Bush to head the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Professor DiIulio, University of Pennsylvania, lasted six months before he resigned, citing health reasons in these eloquent words of departure, "I am fat and have to take better care of myself."

DiIulio was an arrogant academic with no patience for common sense or the sausage making of legislation. Our founders made the common man king precisely because of the likes of DiIulio. The Bushies are a practical lot, not inclined to tolerate Ivory Tower snootiness. Prof. DiIulio reveals himself to be an unabashed traitor by bad-mouthing the people who hired and trusted him for a key slot.

Democrats are gleeful, joining with the media in joyful praise for the implosion of the Bush administration, singing of cracks in Bush domestic programs, rejoicing over a possibly tanked economy, and hoping the now aged-21 Bush twin daughters develop an affinity for chugging contests.

But they pursue the wrong issue. The Bush problems are not, as Democrats and the media cluck, economic fears, failed domestic agendas and no policy wonks. This White House buckles on firing.

Ironically, "W' was his father's hatchet man, sacking the likes of John Sununu. Mr. Bush's hesitancy to toss weak links costs him credibility and brings these media frenzies. Harvey Pitt, former head of the SEC, had a political tin ear. He never understood that restoring trust in the market required a few prosecutions here and there. Yet the Bush administration allowed him to stay on even as New York's attorney general handled the SEC's work by pursuing flagrant Wall Street violations. Pitt had the chutzpah to put William Webster forward as head of the new accounting oversight board without disclosing that Webster sat on a board of company that was under investigation by the SEC for questions about its financial reporting. This last straw saw Pitt's resignation, about 9 months too late, on election night.

There are more Bush weak links. HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson's Madison Avenue-like interviews during the anthrax scares and his position on stem-cell research that benefits the University of Wisconsin's research at the expense of right-to-life conservatives earn him a weasel label. He needs to go.

George Tenet, head of the CIA is a one-man carnival, complete with smoke and mirrors. He still can't explain how his agency missed 9-11-01. He needs to go.

Colin Powell, enamored of position and desirous of being enamored of State Department career personnel is a minefield. He and his direct reports have sabotaged the handling of Iraq. A soldier who cannot offer his loyalty to his chief should join DiIulio.

Democrats have their snouts in the Washington air and smell something useful. Their clocks were cleaned in the election. Sen. Tom Daschle, ousted from his Senate leadership position, looked like Captain Queeg when he blamed Rush Limbaugh. Bush's unwillingness to sack loose cannons provides the means for the Democrats to make a dent in those seemingly impenetrable Bush popularity ratings. The Bush weak links need to go before they do more damage, or, worse, turn to an media, lying in wait, and fully prepared to fill in the blanks on their pre-written story of the Bush inner-circle collapse.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.

Up

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© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings