Surely the Abu Ghraib prison scandal didn’t help. Should Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or other Bush officials resign?
Rand Beers: The Navy has a custom — if a ship runs aground, the captain is relieved regardless of who is responsible. That’s how Abu Ghraib should be handled.
Joe Biden: I was in the Oval Office the other day, and the president asked me what I would do about resignations. I said, “Look, Mr. President, would I keep Rumsfeld? Absolutely not.” And I turned to Vice President Cheney, who was there, and I said, “Mr. Vice President, I wouldn’t keep you if it weren’t constitutionally required.” I turned back to the president and said, “Mr. President, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are bright guys, really patriotic, but they’ve been dead wrong on every major piece of advice they’ve given you. That’s why I’d get rid of them, Mr. President — not just Abu Ghraib.” They said nothing. Just sat like big old bullfrogs on a log and looked at me.
Big old bullfrogs. Yeah. Here’s one more quote from Biden:
Biden: About six months ago, the president said to me, “Well, at least I make strong decisions, I lead.” I said, “Mr. President, look behind you. Leaders have followers. No one’s following. Nobody.”
This is one of Bush’s problems: he honestly thinks that the mere act of making “strong decisions” makes him a leader. It doesn’t even occur to him that a leader is someone who makes good decisions and then persuades other people to support them.