Flipping and Flopping

FLIPPING AND FLOPPING….Maura Reynolds writes in the LA Times today about the 9/11 report and George Bush’s flip-floppy ways:

He resisted a congressional push to establish a Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security. He resisted calls to come down on corporate malfeasance. He even resisted forming the Sept. 11 commission, and, once its work was underway, White House staff dragged their feet on providing documents and approving testimony by presidential advisors.

….”What Bush would like to do is say nice things about how constructive this report is and hope that it goes away,” said Norman Ornstein, an observer of relations between the White House and Congress affiliated with the predominantly conservative American Enterprise Institute.

If it doesn’t go away, the president’s usual pattern is to quietly shift course, claiming the idea as his own and proceeding as if he hadn’t resisted it in the first place. Aides insist that the president hasn’t flip-flopped and that his policy has been consistent throughout.

In the past, that reversal has taken weeks and months. It wasn’t until February, nearly a year after the Iraq war had begun, that Bush agreed to let an independent commission examine the intelligence failures that led to false claims about Iraq’s weapons programs.

Glad to see someone’s paying attention, since this is indeed Bush’s standard MO. But there’s a sad note too: the 9/11 report is likely to “cast a pall” over Bush’s vacation plans. His usual month in Crawford has already been cut down to six days, and to add insult to injury, he’s now feeling pressure to use his time at the ranch to read the report. Maybe he should enter himself in Keith Berry’s “How Many Pages of the Report Will the President Read?” contest?

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation