Senator Jack Reed: Unbridled Arrogance

January 25, 2005

Though I couldn’t stomach much of today’s hearings I was watching Democratic Senator Jack Reed running through the latest Democrat talking points against Dr. Condoleezza Rice. You see, like President Bush, she’s an arrogant, evil unilateralist, according to Reed.

She had a lax approach to national security and terrorism prior to 9/11, as opposed to the tough counterterrorism policies of the tough Clinton administration. But of greatest concern to this man is his fear that the president and Dr. Rice “have a mind meld.” But people in the cabinet need to be independent of the president, says Reed.

But if she has a mind meld with him, will she be able to tell him the hard truths that he won’t accept well? Will she tell him when he is wrong? Or will she even understand when policy requires a different view or different perspective. Expanding on this point, Reed cited favorably the New York Times view that “she seemed to tell President Bush what he wanted to hear about decisions he’s already made rather than what he needed to know to make sound judgments in the first place.”

It’s appropriate, I think, that Senator Reed has invoked Star Trek terminology (mind meld) in opposition to Dr. Rice. I’m not sure why he didn’t quote Spock directly. But here, the Star Trek term is being offered in support of the familiar Democrat refrain that President Bush is a virtual dictator who surrounds himself with yes men and women. You will recall, of course, that his prior image from their perspective was that of VP Dick Cheney’s obedient lapdog. Never mind their 180 here; they never mind.

But what Reed essentially said was that hearsay has it that Dr. Rice thinks like President Bush — they have a meeting of the minds. How shocking for someone the president has chosen to have on his team — we’re not talking an arranged marriage here, folks. But from that reputed meeting of the minds, Reed infers that Rice either a) will not have the courage to tell President Bush when he’s wrong, and/or b) won’t know when he’s wrong, because she’ll be wrong too, since they share the same brain and are incapable of differing on any matter.

Does anyone see how demeaning this characterization is to Dr. Rice? Can you grasp the level of oozing condescension it would require to harbor Reed’s mindset? But more to the point, do you realize how utterly silly this inference is? Have you ever met anyone, including identical twins, who don’t have things to offer each other even when they agree philosophically? The idea that Dr. Rice would not be able to offer anything of value to President Bush because they are generally in agreement on policy is pathetically absurd. But there’s one other thing that jumps out at me even more.

Notice that Reed — and you can get the transcript if you want — said that Dr. Rice might not be able to recognize when the president is wrong because she’ll likewise be wrong on those occasions. We are talking in most instances of subjective judgments, things that don’t lend themselves to absolute certainty. But Reed’s clear implication, in my opinion, is that there are times when the president has been undeniably wrong — such as the decision to invade Iraq — and since Rice supported him she must not be qualified.

You see, what this really boils down to is that the Democrats don’t agree with her policy approach and therefore oppose her — just as they do with judicial nominees. (That’s really not their prerogative in the confirmation process, but since when did a trifling matter like the Constitution ever concern these yahoos?) They believe the president shouldn’t have attacked Iraq and since Dr. Rice was part of the team encouraging the invasion she is unqualified.

What they are doing to this lady is despicable. And kudos to Senator Lieberman for all but saying so today.