Bush-Cheney Won the 2004 Election: Why are They Still Offending the Sensibilities of Republican Moderates?


The New York Times‘ Douglas Jehl has an excellent summary of the John Wolf and Robert Hutchings interviews here.
Dafna Linzer’s informative Washington Post article on the same subject is available here. I think both sew in different items that are worth considering.
However, John Whitehead steps into the spotlight asking his President and the head of his Republican Party why he is so insistent on someone so wrong for the job.
Whitehead — a Republican, a former Reagan administration Deputy Secretary of State, former Co-Chairman of Goldman Sachs, and Founding Chairman of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation — is a key pillar of moderate Republicanism in the country. TWN happens to know that he has been very careful not to publicly cross President Bush, with whom he has had a constructive and useful relationship during Bush’s term in office.
It will be interesting to see if the administration is planning to take John Whitehead off the White House Holiday Party list because of his expressing a negative assessment of John Bolton’s “fitness” for the U.N. job.
Douglas Jehl writes:

On Thursday, John C. Whitehead, who was deputy secretary of state under President Reagan, said in an interview that he had urged Republican senators to oppose Mr. Bolton’s nomination on the ground that Mr. Bolton was “a difficult person to work with” who would not command respect at the United Nations.
“I think good Republicans, which I like to feel I am, don’t like to disagree with the president publicly, and so have been reluctant to speak out against him,” Mr. Whitehead said of Mr. Bolton. “But there are other people, in addition to those who have come forth, who would like to see a change made. I don’t like to see the president suffer a loss, and I’ve been hoping that Mr. Bolton would withdraw, having seen the opposition out there.”

The President isn’t going to read this blog — but some of his people do.
You owe it to your boss to have him converse with John Whitehead, with Colin Powell, with Richard Armitage, with Warren Rudman, with John Danforth, with Christine Whitman, with Susan Eisenhower, with Brent Scowcroft. I have no idea what these individuals will really say; they may even concur that Bolton can do some good at the U.N.
But they are an important wing of Republican internationalists whom you should be connecting with, President Bush. Your team is out ahead of these important players, and Bolton-Cheneyism is alienating them.
Someone in the White House needs to take a step back and consider the stakes. The mature and balanced thing is to consult.
Vice President Cheney no doubt that the Bolton nomination was going to be a “cake walk.”
We have heard those words before — and this time it is very much in President Bush’s interests to consider all options.
To do that well, he ought to make some phone calls to the people above.
— Steve Clemons