Sunday, May 22, 2005

When your boss is not the sharpest pencil in the box, keep him out of the loop

Well, that's what happened when the President was enjoying a midday bike ride and Washington came under a terrorist threat. His wife, Nancy Reagan and thousand others were deemed to be at risk, but it was determined that the President of the United States was best kept uninformed about a potential terrorist strike against the White House, or something else in Washington DC.

Well, Douglass McKinnon, Bob Dole's former press secretary says,Trust me, he needs to know. What a generous kind way to tell the POTUS to get a clue.

Okay, here's the scenario: You're a husband who's away on a short trip while your wife stays at home entertaining a very important visitor and a variety of other friends. Suddenly, the police rush into your house and scream at everyone to evacuate the premises immediately or they may all die. Strangely, even though the police and others have your cell phone number and know exactly where you are, they decide for mysterious reasons not to tell you that your wife, your friends and your home could be destroyed in the coming minutes.

Two questions come immediately to mind: Wouldn't you want to know instantly that your spouse and others close to you were in danger? And second, wouldn't you create a whole new category of "smoke-coming-out-of-your-ears angry" if you found out that the authorities had deliberately kept this information from you?

This is basically what happened to President Bush a little over a week ago. On May 11, while the president was bicycling in Maryland, the Secret Service and the U.S. military thought that Washington might be under terrorist attack. And all involved decided not to tell the president that his wife, his friends and his home -- not to mention hundreds of people who work for him and for U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill, as well as thousands of tourists innocently taking snapshots at the White House gates and on the Capitol steps -- were possibly in imminent danger. They didn't let him know until some 40 minutes after the "all-clear" had been sounded. Who in the world has the authority to make that call? Nobody, in my opinion.


Since this is Washington, and these same reporters do like a good conspiracy theory, some started to speculate about the protocols McClellan kept talking about. They wondered if one of the unmentioned ones was to explicitly not tell the president that a plane was about to crash into the White House so that he would have deniability when the order was given to shoot it down. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, Washington is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma . . . on steroids.

McClellan basically ended his personal nightmare by saying, "Anytime there is a situation like this, there is going to be a review undertaken . . . and if there are any improvements that need to be made, they will be made."

Great answer. And right off the bat, I can think of one improvement. That being, if our nation is under attack, or if his wife and the capital are about to be vaporized, please, please, please, notify our commander-in-chief immediately!!! Other than that, I'm good.

I supppose after his September 11 deer-in-the-headlights, my-pet-goat, performance, it was determined an ignorant president is more PR acceptable than an incompetent one. But either way, neither option is terribly impressive.


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