by Peter Freyne
Tuesday is "Inside Track" writing day for the print side of Seven Days, so we did not attend Democrat Congressional hopeful Peter Welch's presser on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Welch said in his press release:
“Secretary Rumsfeld first misled us to war, then failedto execute that war effectively, and now has gone out of bounds in our democraticsociety by challenging the patriotism of citizens who question his failures. He must go.”
No surprise there. Welchie's been saying it since last December.
But what is a surprise is that two prominent Republican candidates have gone public with their calls for Rummy to go ober the weekend. The Associated Press reports out of Trenton, New Jersey that "New Jersey Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Kean Jr. called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld yesterday, days after a new poll showed the Iraq war was hampering his U.S. Senate bid."
In Ohio, The Columbus Dispatch reports that Republican U.S. House Rep. Pat Tiberi has also gone public with a call for Rummy to resign.
"I can’t defend how the president laid out the need for (going to war in Iraq). I don’t support Rumsfeld," Tiberi said.
A trickle that will become a waterfall?
(Wednesday September 6 at noon.)
Last night, Vermont's senior senator, Patrick J. Leahy, had a few points to make on the Senate floor and, would you believe, Rummy's name came up:
"Secretary Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney struck the absolute wrong note when they recently labeled as "appeasers'' the majority of Americans who recognize the disastrous war in Iraq as distracting them from winning the war on terror. Basically, they are saying anyone who questions their mistakes or points out their mistakes is nearly treasonous. My God, we have not heard talk like that since the days of King George. And that led to the revolution that made us a country!
"Again, this week, the Democratic leadership reached out to the President on this important issue. Rather than name-calling and seeking to divide Americans, rather than fostering fear and seeking to scare Americans into staying the disastrous course on which the Government remains headed, I urge Republican leaders to join to fight a smarter war on terror so we can make America safer....
"During this past month, I have gone all over the State of Vermont. I have talked to people. I have attended funerals of brave soldiers killed in Iraq from Vermont. Vermont has lost more soldiers per capita than any other State in the country. And it is interesting, in a small State such as ours, as to the people you see at these funerals, everybody knows everybody else. I walk out and I see people whom I went to grade school with or people who knew my parents or I knew them or their families. We are there, and the other Members of the congressional delegation, the Governor, and nobody goes by a title. Our adjutant general is usually referred to as Mike. I am called Pat. There is Jim and Bernie and so on.
"We're a very proud State. We're a very patriotic State. We're a very honest State. We're the 14th State in the Nation, and we have answered the call. People wonder if maybe the call has been distorted this time. They wonder what this war does for our security. As I said earlier, I believe it has made us less secure as a nation, not more secure. They wonder where the failures were in Government that allowed 9/11 to happen in the first place. And, of course, as more information has come out, it could have been avoided, should have been avoided, should have been avoided. And they wonder if the lessons have been learned about that.
".....and I heard this from Republicans and Democrats alike in my State--when the Secretary of Defense and others in the administration say if you raise questions, if you point out their mistakes, somehow you are aiding the enemy, however defined, that you are not being patriotic. I am reminded to paraphrase Mark Twain. He said: Love your country. Question your Government.
"A lot of people in my State--Republicans and Democrats--say there is a great deal to question today.
"I hope they will continue to do so. I hope they will never fail to do so. I hope that those people who have the audacity in America -- the freest democracy on Earth -- that those leaders in our Government who have the audacity to question the patriotism of Americans who question their mistakes will themselves be quiet and leave--leave the stage!!!"
Thank you, Sen. Leahy, for sharing!