“WHY IN GOD’S NAME DIDN’T YOU DO IT BEFORE THE ELECTION!”
Update: Captain Ed questions the timing and the sanity:
However, the timing of this move seems ludicrous. Just two weeks ago, Bush riled up the electorate by pledging unwavering support for Rumsfeld for the next two years. I’m sure that a number of Republican politicians who find themselves out of a job wonder why this decision didn’t get made two months ago, and why Bush had to issue that unhelpful statement in the midst of the midterm struggles. Obviously, Bush can live without Rumsfeld, and obviously the White House now understands the drag that Rumsfeld had on the GOP. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be out today. Why didn’t anyone at the White House figure this out two or three months ago, when the transition to Gates could have demonstrated a little more flexibility on Iraq?
Yeah, I don’t get it. Forcing Rumsfeld out the day after a Democratic sweep only confirms suspicions that the war is being run as a function of domestic politics. They could have avoided that by canning him two months ago or two months from now, but to do it the day after you’ve lost an election is an admission that they knew he wasn’t the right guy for the job but stuck with him until they were forced to send him packing or that they believe he is the right guy for the job but aren’t willing to stick by him now that the blue wave has broken.
Bad news either way.
Update: Sounds like the biggest loser last night was Cheney:
[A] source told NBC News’ military analyst Bill Arkin that prior to the election, Vice President Dick Cheney argued with other politicians over whether Rumsfeld should stay. White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and others said Rumsfeld should be removed, the source said. Both sides agreed the decision would be made after the election, when Bush would make the final call based on how Republicans did.
According to the source, Bush agreed Rumsfeld should be removed after seeing election results favoring Democrats. Cheney then lost another argument, protesting Gates’ nomination as Rumsfeld’s replacement.