Monday, April 21, 2008

Danged if he does

This morning's online issue of GovExec has two very interesting stories on the same page. The first is about a new Bush administration policy to foster accountability in the bureaucracy:
The administration says that the order will improve program performance and ensure a higher level of accountability from top agency officials. But others suggest that it will open the door to greater White House interference in executive branch operations, possibly for years to come
OK, accountability officers-- bad. A little later they reported on the GAO audit of Bush's foreign policy vis a vis al Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal territories:
GAO stated clearly where the blame for this failure resides: "The president of the United States has primary responsibility to ensure that his national security strategy is carried out effectively."
Indeed, from the actual report here is one of the five recommendations:
The plan should (1) place someone directly in charge of this multidepartment effort to improve accountability;
Er, OK, accountability officer-- now good.

We can make a wild guess and say the Pakistan/al Qaeda study was requested by the Democratic leadership in Congress for one of following reasons: 1) to provide cover/plausible deniability for their members should another attack occur, 2) to embarrass Bush again, 3) to help 2009 Democratic candidates by giving THEM cover should an attack occur after the elections, and 4) all the above.

Congress knows the GAO has no statutory authority over the policies set by the Commander-in-Chief in defending the country. And they know that a truly meaningful report would have required the GAO to secure access to presidential level top secret national security intelligence, which didn't happen. So, while their report might make for colorful special comment fodder for Keith Olbermann it has only limited value in the reality-based world.

But to these feckless huckleberries perception is reality. Little wonder Pelosi recently spittled out the following threat:
"'I think that the president has finally realized that the leverage has changed,' Pelosi said. 'That is the question: Who has the leverage? I think the president realizes now that we do.'"
Followed by a Bronx cheer, perhaps? By the way, feel free to read the rest of the Dan Froomkin article if you're into visions of Bush and Cheney in leg irons.

MORE 4/21/08

The former head of the GAO, Comptroller General David Walker, was in control when this report on the tribal areas was ordered. He resigned effective March 12. According to the WaPo he was a 'gadfly' and someone who irritated both sides. That looks true based on the mission statement of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, where he now works. So painting him as a partisan was not the intention here. BTW, blogging about the Comptroller General must mean things are pretty slow. Or I've lost it.


Debbie said...

I like your assumptions 1 - 4. As to Pelosi's statement, if the Dems had the leverage, they have failed to use it to the satisfaction of their supporters. I'm waiting to see what kind of uprising we have from the Democrat voters when they elect a Dem president, and that president fails to bring the troops home immediately. Villagers with torches???

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Anonymous said...

I thought Al Haig was in control.

A.C. McCloud said...

I'm waiting to see what kind of uprising we have from the Democrat voters when they elect a Dem president, and that president fails to bring the troops home immediately.

Maybe Code Pink will finally lose it and become the new Weathermen. Er, weatherwomen...weatherpeople.

Marie's Two Cents said...

My heavens.

If Pelosi and co. had that kind of power they would have passed several bills by now, for instance the Dems ran on a platform of "They were going to lower gas prices, they were going to "Impeach President Bush", and they were going to put a stop to the "Victory In Iraq".

They have done NONE of this!

The Dems are all talk and almost no action.

A.C. McCloud said...

The Dems are all talk and almost no action.

I wouldn't say that, Marie. They managed to get Valierie Plame to lie in front of Congress and successfully used the GAO to criticize Bush's foreign policy and national defense record. And, and, and...