Sunday, October 17, 2004

Why did Christine Todd Whitman Roll?

There are many commentators talking about Ron Suskind's brilliant article on Bush's faith and its shortcomings in the NYTM.

However I have yet to see any of them, mired in their yes amusing but myopic ABB snark, comment on the most alarming piece of information in the piece.

The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many viewers were surprised to see in the first presidential debate are familiar expressions to those in the administration or in Congress who have simply asked the president to explain his positions. Since 9/11, those requests have grown scarce; Bush's intolerance of doubters has, if anything, increased, and few dare to question him now. A writ of infallibility -- a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains -- is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of the White House. As Whitman told me on the day in May 2003 that she announced her resignation as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: ''In meetings, I'd ask if there were any facts to support our case. And for that, I was accused of disloyalty!'' (Whitman, whose faith in Bush has since been renewed, denies making these remarks and is now a leader of the president's re-election effort in New Jersey.)

Let me remind my dear readers of Whitman's creds. She resigned on principle from the Bush Administration EPA posting. She then published correspondence and gave interviews criticizing Bush. These are on public record from multiple sources. This is a person that the White House froze out.

Now she is denying her comments and working on Bush's re-election campaign. Clearly she was rolled. In a way it's reminiscent of the party embrace that McCain, literally, gave Bush in front of crowds earlier this year. In sci-fi parlance we have a pod-people problem here: where is the real Christine Todd Whitman and what have you done with her?

While thinking that is amusing, for a moment, the truth is far more insidious. CTW clearly has been offered a path back into the fold, and a chance at future power. For this she rolled. The necessary reciprocal of this is that she must be convinced that those who offered her such a "reconciliation" with the party can deliver. Like McCain's conversion, it must have been affected by the conclusion that as a matter of fact that not only would the GOP "win" the 2004 election but that it would be the only game in town. That's the kind of monopoly it takes to get people to roll like this.

I think this is a very bad sign. Nominally in the polls the race is very close. Anecdotally there are a lot of fire-breathing ABB new voter registrations out there not being picked up by polling sampling so it should be on the ground even more Kerry skewed than the numbers show.

But we have people, previously alienated from Bush, now acting with complete certainty as if he's a shoo-in.

If you ask me, the fix is in. The Establishment couldn't ignore a large popular mandate. But a close race, that they can fudge. Given the passivity of the American people to public-media manipulation regarding Iraq, WMD, and 911 connections I don't think that there can be any reasonable question that they will succeed in carrying off the coronation their desired leader.

Right now my p-value of Bush victory is at 80% and growing. The more I see the more I am convinced that the winner of this election has already been pre-selected.


At October 17, 2004 at 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a whore. Did you see her pre-debate "question" for Kerry in the Times? Something about Kyoto and how he voted against it but thought it was a bad idea for the Bush administration to just pull out the way it did ... which, of course, is one of the major reasons she resigned.

At October 17, 2004 at 3:41 PM, Blogger morinao said...

But it's not clear that Whitman's path back into the fold passes through a Bush reelection. Moderates like Whitman and McCain might be looking to pick up the pieces after a Bush loss discredits the hard right. I've always felt that McCain's active support for a President he clearly loathes is meant to preserve his viability for a future race within the party, which would never forgive a candidate perceived to have deserted the Republican standardbearer when the going got rough.

At October 17, 2004 at 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What possible sort of role do you see for her in a second Bush Administration? Will she get a cushy titular ambassadorship in some "foreign capital?" Is she planning on filling an as-of-yet-not-vacant Senate seat in NJ?

At the same time, why is it of any importance to the Bush Administration to have her back in the fold?

By asking this, I am not disagreeing with your theory - I think it is interesting and compelling. I am wondering aloud at how CTW and the Admin are mutually beneficial to one another.

Adam Stanhope

At October 17, 2004 at 4:58 PM, Blogger perceptio said...

There are certainly others who fear, like you, that the outcome is already determined; Greg Palast is pronouncing gloom and doom down in Florida.

You may be right. But I think marinao's points are good ones; Bush's re-selection is not the only viable explanation for Whitman's and McCain's behavior. And, frankly, I have to hope that you're wrong and marinao's right, just for the sake of the country.

At October 17, 2004 at 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oldman has touched on a sensative point. It is false comfort to denounce Whitman as a whore: Whores do not resign publicly on principle in the first place. Whether she was blackmailed--does she have a secret life?--or extorted, or threatened (with something like the equivalent of a set of concrete overshoes), she was gotten to, and does not see a life outside of Bushdom. But what does it mean for the election? And why did Bushco bother?

Even as it appears that Bush is going to lose the election, the process of stealing it has begun, with the illegal elimination of voters from the voting rolls in several important states. Desperation is reflected in the visibility and crudeness of the manoevers, but with a playing-field already tilted by corrupt judges and Republican legislatures, the blatant criminality may not matter. Even more ominous, to my thought, than the voting-roll manoevers is the fact that Diebold--and other--electronic machines will be tabulating the vote in several key states, and, as has now been proven, these systems were designed to facilitate election fraud. I have heard mention of no credible, legal means for the Democrats to combat this.

Whatever happens, the media gets the horse-race they want and need. Last month, Bush was revealed for the psychopathic incompetent he is, but as this month finishes the media could easily decide to pile on Kerry and reverse the trends. That is assuming that voters continue to be easily sheparded, which is something nobody knows.

Last spring I was worrying that November 2004 would be our last election ever. But now I am wondering if our last election has already been held, and the American experiment in government of law is over. What happens this November when the US no longer has a legal government?


At October 17, 2004 at 9:05 PM, Blogger J Thomas said...

Whitman is a career politician and a former governor of new jersey. She was considered for Bush's vice president but wasn't one of the front-runners. They gave her the EPA post, and if they need a woman for vice president in 2008 or even 2012 she might have a chance. So first off, this is a politician we're talking about.

I looked at scanty facts and I made up a story. See if you think it's plausible. There's of course no verification whatsoever, it's just a story.

So, here's Whitman running the EPA, she doesn't really know what's going on but she has a good idea what she's supposed to do. And there are a couple of brave junior technicians who talk to her. They tell her about how important the work is. They point to places in texas where a lot of babies get born dead with no brains at all because of pollution. They point to a couple of spots in new jersey where the rates are almost as high as the bad spots in texas. "This is what we do. This is what we're here to stop." They're proud about it and they include her, she's part of the team that stops things like that.

And later they see her again in the cafeteria or whatever, and they explain about a pollutant that they think makes children stupid. "But we aren't completely sure how bad it is, we're pretty sure it's bad.... And we've been forbidden to collect the data to find out for sure. We can't stop it until we find out whether it's important, and we aren't allowed to find out. You see where that leaves us? And what bothers me, in about 3 years somebody else is going to find out and they'll publish it, and and maybe it will be bad. People are going to ask us how come we didn't know. And we'll look back at the data we got by accident that we weren't supposed to look at before, and we'll see it's bad, and there are going to be a whole lot of retarded kids -- particularly in texas, mississippi, alabama, georgia, south carolina, and new jersey -- and their parents are going to wonder who to blame. Well, of course they'll blame us, but we're just following orders. Who else will they blame?"

She thinks about that. She's the one who gave that order. She asks Bush about it and he tells her that there's no doubt, it's the right thing to do. And when she asks about evidence he says she's being disloyal. She thinks that over. If it goes wrong, will the media blame him or will they blame her? How loyal would he be to her?

She quits and she announces why she's quitting. If she runs for governor of new jersey again she doesn't have a chance if there are even 50 people in new jersey who're sure she made their children retarded. They'll show up at meetings, they'll get newspaper interviews, her opponent will copy a bunch of Green speeches, if the party sees it coming she won't even get the nomination.

So then, the national committee asks her to campaign for Bush. Former governor. If she can deliver 15 NJ electoral college votes, that's significant. And there's that underlying reality: They have a lot of money. If she doesn't cooperate, next time she runs for anything her main opponent in the primaries will have a lot of money. So she retracts everything she said about Bush and starts campaigning. That might haunt her later, but it's only a little white lie she told during an election campaign. Whatever excuse works for McCain will probably work for her, and the media might not go with it anyway. She can say she was loyal to her party to take some of the sting off. It's nothing like being held responsible for thousands of differently-abled kids. Maybe she can run for vice president in 2008, if Bush loses maybe she can run with McCain. It looks a little bad that she campaigned for Bush, but in 4 years it won't be a great big deal.

By itself this doesn't look to me like much evidence that the fix is in. If there's a secret fix, would they tell it to people like Whitman? How far down would they tell the secret? After all, if they can get new jersey's 15 votes the easy way, why should she knock herself out to get them?

If Bush loses the election, maybe Bushes will be weakened in the party. George W Bush's grudge against her wouldn't matter so much. But the guys who care whether she campaigned for the party choice would still care. So maybe her best outcome is to have visibly campaigned for Bush and see him fail -- just like McCain's best outcome.

I'm not an expert in party politics. I can accept that Oldman might get a whiff of something here and a bad smell there and come up with a correct judgement that I couldn't follow logically. But is there something fundamentally wrong with my story? Have I missed fundamental relationships that would make it implausible?

At October 17, 2004 at 10:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing the Bush family has a documented history of corruption and abuses of power. They rigged the 2000 Floridaa vote and used SCOTUS to determine who'll be preznit and are already implicated in Diebold hacker friendly vote computers, shredding new voter applications in swing states like NV, OH, OR, intimidating black voters in Florida and erasing others off the roles.

In short they are running a campaign more suited to bananaland republic in South America for some maximum leader rather a democracy where thuggery is the rule.

I don't put much past them.


At October 17, 2004 at 11:06 PM, Blogger orc said...

Ever since Kerry got the de facto nomination, my opinion has been that he would win the election, but Bush would then steal it. I've been hoping that the Kerry margin would be large enough so that it would be painfully obvious that the election was stolen.

And then the civil war will come.

At October 18, 2004 at 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A resulting civil war over a fraudulent presidential election isn't in the cards. The Democrats idea of a tough fight is using the ACLU and trial lawyers.

If it was 1930 or LBJ's folks I'd say differently. Why? Democrats have eschewed populism and the bluecollars in favor of upscale types found in the cities in the last 12 years. This has crippled their base, all they have now is a patchwork of ABB voters and some apathetic minorities.

Harldy the stuff of civil issurections.

Plus they need leaders who are not afraid of a tussel or street fight, but these guys don't exist anymore in the Democratic party. Hell the Democrats are terrified of these neanderthals and wouldn't have their help for anything.

One thing about the GOP they don't pick on people who fight back and I think they see how weak Kerry and the Democrats really are and thats why we're already seeing sabotage of early elections in Florida and Texas.


At October 18, 2004 at 10:14 PM, Blogger Oldman said...

I'm reacting to more info than what is currently presented. Any individual case could be rationalized, but we're seeing a lot of people sell out. I don't think CTW is selling out for a lobbying position. She'll want to be a Senator. Based upon that, I don't think that the RNC can deliver a CTW Senatorship in the future with a BC'04 setback. CTW is a national figure, she can't be frozen out that easily on her own home ground. That thinking plus other info leads me to think that it's a carrot for her and a substantial one.

At October 20, 2004 at 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would argue that the fix was in before Bush got elected.

Father Bush vs Clinton
Dole vs Clinton
Gore vs Bush
Kerry vs Bush

Non of the people on the left side really were any competition for those on the right hand side of my list. Remember, we are choosing from the lesser of two evils or the oportunity to change without really upseting the status quo. Think about it.

Jim Coomes


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