Anderson sat through long policy talks Bush held with Powell and Rumsfeld, as well as National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Veep Dick Cheney. Now, they're the inner circle. Bush "knew these people. He likes them. He knows them. And he tends to be loyal," Anderson noted.
University of California, Berkeley, political science professor Bruce Cain is among those who argue that Bush should fire Rumsfeld. But Cain is enough of a Beltway observer to understand that it is highly likely that "Rummy will not be let go immediately. If it happens, it will happen after the (presidential) election."
And it's not just a matter of electoral politics. Consider Tenet. If Bush hadn't kept Bill Clinton's director of the CIA when he assumed office, Bush would have been in the perfect position to blame Clinton for every intelligence failure he inherited. Bush knew that, but he kept Tenet anyway. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Bush didn't try to dump Sept. 11 in Tenet's lap. He didn't turn his CIA chief into a scapegoat -- as some Dems and Repubs wanted him to do.
"I don't think he works that way," Anderson explained. Blaming other people simply doesn't get a job done.
To think -- Bush had two solid chances to blame intelligence oversights on Democrats, but instead, he chose to stick with a man who he thought was more likely to get the job done.
Bush wasn't ruthlessly partisan. He didn't discard a man for the sake of convenience. And those are qualities that Washington wags simply cannot grasp.