Let Them Eat Cakewalks
Ken Adelman intends to vote for Barack Obama. He can hardly believe it himself.
Adelman and I exchanged e-mails today about his decision. He asked rhetorically,
Why so, since my views align a lot more with McCain’s than with Obama’s? And since I truly dread the notion of a Democratic president, Democratic House, and hugely Democratic Senate?
Primarily for two reasons, those of temperament and of judgment.
When the economic crisis broke, I found John McCain bouncing all over the place. In those first few crisis days, he was impetuous, inconsistent, and imprudent; ending up just plain weird. Having worked with Ronald Reagan for seven years, and been with him in his critical three summits with Gorbachev, I’ve concluded that that’s no way a president can act under pressure.
Second is judgment. The most important decision John McCain made in his long campaign was deciding on a running mate.
That decision showed appalling lack of judgment. Not only is Sarah Palin not close to being acceptable in high office—I would not have hired her for even a mid-level post in the arms-control agency. But that selection contradicted McCain’s main two, and best two, themes for his campaign—Country First, and experience counts. Neither can he credibly claim, post-Palin pick.
I sure hope Obama is more open, centrist, sensible—dare I say, Clintonesque—than his liberal record indicates, than his cooperation with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid portends. If not, I will be even more startled by my vote than I am now.
I don't know what to say. Whenever I think of Ken Adelman I think of him crying happily in Cheney's arms after the invasion of Iraq:
On April 10, 2003, Ken Adelman, a Reagan administration official and supporter of the Iraq war, published an op-ed article in The Washington Post headlined, " 'Cakewalk' Revisited," more or less gloating over what appeared to be the quick victory there, and reminding readers that 14 months earlier he had written that war would be a "cakewalk." He chastised those who had predicted disaster. "Taking first prize among the many frightful forecasters" was Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser in the first Bush administration. Adelman wrote that his own confidence came from having worked for Donald H. Rumsfeld three times and "from knowing Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz for so many years."
Vice President Cheney phoned Adelman, who was in Paris with his wife, Carol. What a clever column, the vice president said. You really demolished them. He said he and his wife, Lynne, were having a small private dinner Sunday night, April 13, to talk and celebrate. The only other guests would be his chief adviser, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Wolfowitz, now deputy secretary of defense. Adelman realized it was Cheney's way of saying thank you, and he and his wife came back from Paris a day early to attend the dinner.
When Adelman walked into the vice president's residence that Sunday night, he was so happy he broke into tears. He hugged Cheney for the first time in the 30 years he had known him. There had been reports in recent days of mass graves and abundant, graphic evidence of torture by Saddam Hussein's government, so there was a feeling that they had been part of a greater good, liberating 25 million people.
"We're all together. There should be no protocol; let's just talk," Cheney said when they sat down to dinner.
Wolfowitz embarked on a long review of the 1991 Persian Gulf War and what a mistake it had been to allow the Iraqis to fly helicopters after the armistice. Hussein had used them to put down uprisings.
Cheney said he had not realized then what a trauma that time had been for the Iraqis, particularly the Shiites, who felt the United States had abandoned them. He said that experience had made the Iraqis worry that war this time would not end Hussein's rule.
"Hold it! Hold it!" Adelman interjected. "Let's talk about this Gulf war. It's so wonderful to celebrate." He said he was just an outside adviser, someone who turned up the pressure in the public forum. "It's so easy for me to write an article saying, 'Do this.' It's much tougher for Paul to advocate it. Paul and Scooter, you give advice inside and the president listens. Dick, your advice is the most important, the Cadillac. It's much more serious for you to advocate it. But in the end, all of what we said was still only advice. The president is the one who had to decide. I have been blown away by how determined he is." The war has been awesome, Adelman said. "So I just want to make a toast, without getting too cheesy. To the president of the United States."
They all raised their glasses. Hear! Hear!
Adelman said he had worried to death that there would be no war as time went on and support seemed to wane.
After Sept. 11, 2001, Cheney said, the president understood what had to be done. He had to do Afghanistan first, sequence the attacks, but after Afghanistan -- "soon thereafter" -- the president knew he had to do Iraq. Cheney said he was confident after Sept. 11 that it would come out okay.
Adelman actually jumped ship some time ago. And while I certainly agree that all votes are welcome, everyone is going to have to pardon me for not rushing to welcome war criminal enabling scumbags like Ken Adelman into the big tent. They tend to pollute every place they go.