Typical American President: Gerald Ford's Pluses and Minuses , Jerry PolitexThe official word on Gerald Ford is that he was a nice guy who took us out of the horror of the Nixon years into a great new day of the Republic. What made him a nice guy was that he was unsuited for the job of President of the United States as it has been generally practiced, particularly since the mid-Twentieth Century. He was down-to-earth, fairly bipartisan, not much of a liar, and did not have dreams of dictatorship. Yet, his pluses as a typical American President was that he was comfortable being run by the corporations, didn't have a problem with the growing gap between the rich and the poor, was willing to cover up the crimes of past Presidents, and believed in our country's imperialist ambitions to conquer the world "for democracy," even when it resulted in the deaths of thousands, rationalized as being "in the national interest."
Now we get word that Ford told Woodward that he was against Bush's Iraq war from the start, but embargoed Woodword for reporting it because of an "agreement" by past Presidents that they would never criticize the President in office. That never stopped Jimmy Carter from doing just that, considering the "agreement" to be absurd, since it put loyality to the system over the needs and rights of the average citizen. Naturally, the result has been that Jimmy Carter is considered to be a "bad" President, while Ford is the "good" President who saved us from the reality of Presidential corruption by sweeping it under the rug.Impeachment? Gerald Ford's Memoirs Reveal Nixon Deal , Victor Navasky Interview VICTOR NAVASKY: Publisher Emeritus of the Nation Magazine and chairman of the Columbia University Journalism review.
In August of 1974, which was about a week before Nixon resigned, General Hague took Gerry Ford for a walk in the rose garden, and told him that Nixon was going bonkers and they had to get him out of there, and there were four possible ways to do that. The first three turned out to not realistic. But the fourth, he said, was if you would promise to pardon him after you become president, I think he would agree to resign. Now, some years later Ford wrote about this in his memoir....It turned out that there was this one chapter that dealt with this conversation. And, the way Ford told the story, he put a gloss of innocence on it...
After Hague took Ford for a walk in the rose garden, Ford writes in his memoir that he came back to his office, and he mentioned this to an aide of his named, Bob Hartman, and the aide said, and then what did you say after you heard that? And, Ford said well, I didn't say anything. And, the aide said, gee, that's not good, silence implies assent. Because Ford had asked Hague well, is it possible to pardon someone before he is indicted? And Hague said yes, we checked it out with our lawyers and it is. So Ford says, he then went to sleep and he didn't say anything to Betty about it and the next morning he got up and he mentioned it to another aide, a fellow named Jack Marsh. And Marsh said, and then what did you say? And, Ford said, I didn’t say anything, and this aide said, gee, that could be a time bomb.
So, Ford then writes, that he then went and called General Hague and read him a statement, which he reprints in his book, and the statement said, nothing I did or didn't say yesterday should be taken to mean that I did or didn't agree to pardon or not to pardon Richard Nixon. And, he writes it as a kind of proforma thing, and the way I read it was it was a an attempt to put a gloss of innocence on a deal they had made. And this is a possible obstruction of justice, and that it’s something that he shouldn’t have done and against the law, and possibly, after he got nominated and confirmed, an impeachable offense, even.
AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Victor Navasky, your thoughts today on President Ford's legacy.
VICTOR NAVASKY: Well, I think he--the most important thing he did was he pardoned Richard Nixon. And he--if that was, indeed, the result of a deal, rather than this he's being credited, and maybe properly so, with trying to heal the nation. But, if he--his attempt to heal the nation was a result of a deal he made while he was Vice President of the United States, that's an important missing piece of history. So he'll be celebrated because he's a nice guy and he was a football player and all of that stuff for the next week or two. But if it turns out that this deal was made then history is going to have a harsher judgment about him.
"Smoking Gun Memo": Ford Supported Indonesian Invasion of East Timor that Killed 1/3 of Population , Brad Simpson InterviewAMY GOODMAN: An excerpt of the documentary Massacre: The Story of East Timor which I produced with journalist Alan Nairn who’ll be joining us in a minute. But first to talk more about President Ford's legacy and his role in East Timor, we are joined by Brad Simpson. Brad Simpson works for the National Security Archives and is a Professor at the University of Maryland. Brad, welcome to Democracy Now!...You recently got documents declassified about President Ford and his role in 1975, in meeting with the long reigning dictator of Indonesia, Suharto. Can you explain what you learned?
BRAD SIMPSON: Yes. Gerald Ford actually met twice with Suharto, first in July of 1975 when Suharto came to the United States. And later in December of 1975, of course, on the eve of his invasion of East Timor. And we now know that for more than a year Indonesia had been planning its armed takeover of East Timor, and the United States had of course been aware of Indonesian military plans. In July of 1975, the National Security Council first informed Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford of Indonesia’s plans to take over East Timor by force. And Suharto of course raised this with Gerald Ford in July when he met with Gerald Ford at Camp David on a trip to the United States. And then in December of 1975 on a trip through Southeast Asia, Gerald Ford met again with Suharto on the eve of the invasion, more than two weeks after the National Security Council, CIA, other intelligence agencies had concluded that an Indonesian invasion was eminent. And that the only thing delaying the invasion was the fear that US disapproval might lead to a cut-off of weapons and military supplies to the regime.
AMY GOODMAN: How knowledgeable was President Ford at the time of the situation?
BRAD SIMPSON: Well, Ford was very much aware. He was receiving hourly briefings, as was Henry Kissinger, as his plane lifted off from Indonesia, as the invasion indeed commenced. And immediately afterwards Gerald Ford flew to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, or to Guam—excuse me, where he gave a speech saying that never again should the United States allow another nation to strike in the middle of the night, to attack another defenseless nation. This was on Pearl Harbor Day, of course. Realizing full well that another day of infamy was unfolding in Dili, East Timor. As thousands of Indonesian paratroopers, trained by the United States, using US supplied weapons, indeed jumping from United States supplied airplanes, were descending upon the capital city of Dili and massacring literally thousands of people in the hours and days after December 7, 1975.
AMY GOODMAN: Brad, how difficult was it to get this declassified? The memos that you got? And how long were these memos about Ford and Kissinger's meeting with the long reigning Suharto? How long were they kept classified?
BRAD SIMPSON: Well, they are kept classified until the fall of 2002. We now know, actually, that a Congressman from Minnesota, Donald Fraser, had actually attempted to declassify the memo, the so-called Smoking Gun Memo, the transcript of General Suharto’s conversation with Gerald Ford, in December of 1975. Congressman Fraser actually tried to declassify this in document in 1978 during the Suharto adm--or during the Carter years and Carter's National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, realizing full well the explosive nature of this cable would show that the United States had been an accomplice in an international act of aggression, recommended that the State Department refuse to declassify the memo, a mere three years after the invasion.
And it took another 25 years after this episode before the cables were finally declassified and of course much more has come out. And I think it's incontrovertible that the United States played the crucial role in enabling the Indonesian invasion of East Timor. And I think it's wrong to say that Gerald Ford was completely unconcerned with the aftermath of the invasion. We now know that just a few days after the invasion Gerald Ford sent a telegram to the State Department asking that an emergency diplomatic cable be sent to General Suharto, in response to his recent visit. And inside the cable, which was sent by diplomatic pouch from the US Embassy, was a set of golf balls from Gerald Ford....
Bush's Ford Administration: Memories of the Ford Administration , Jerry Politex, Maureen Dowd (excerpts)The Ford administration was a combination of cold war warriors (including Powell, Cheney, and Rumsfeld), big business bureaucrats (including O'Neill), and ideologues. Welcome to the Bush administration, a combination of cold war warriors, big business bureaucrats, and ideologues. If they're not from Ford's they're from Nixon's, Reagan's, and Poppy's administrations. In fact, at an average age of 59, the Bush administration is one of the oldest ever. More important than actual age, their thinking reflects a bygone era, particularly with respect to social policy. No matter what their positions are, what seems to hold most of the nominees together is their anti-abortion, anti-environment, pro-gun positions. Also, there are too many nominees who have been accused of being either racists or homophobes, which is surprising in both instances, given the members of the Bush team. And of course one bigot in a cabinet is one too many, particularly in such a key position. --Politex, 1/5/00
On Monday Mr. Bush again heeded Mr. Cheney and chose a Ford official to be Treasury secretary (replacing the Ford official who was just fired from the job) to work with the Ford official who is Fed chairman. Yesterday he chose an old Ford hand as head of the S.E.C. And we have the recrudescence of the secretary of state under Ford and Nixon, Henry Kissinger. Ford was the Fillmore of our time. His administration was famous for its hapless economic policy, fighting inflation with marketing, passing out those silly little buttons that read WIN (Whip Inflation Now). What do we remember of that era except the pardoning of Nixon, the fall of Saigon and the falls of Chevy Chase?
The lasting mark of that White House was tamping down the post-Watergate zeal for truth, containing Congressional and media investigations into C.I.A. abuses such as assassinations of foreign leaders and F.B.I. overreaching on infiltrating civil rights groups. It was in that battle that the Ford alumni -- Rummy, Cheney & Kissy -- forged their worldview that the greatest threat to the country was the prying eyes of the public, the press and Congress. Trent Lott may want to turn the clock back to Jim Crow. Mr. Cheney just wants to go back to a time before Vietnam and Watergate, when there was more government secrecy and less moral relativism.
The administration is chockablock with people who kept the public and Congress in the dark on foreign intrigue. Adm. John Poindexter, who took the fall for Iran-contra, is now in charge of expanding the universe of secrets to include dossiers at the Pentagon on every living American, under the Orwellian heading of Office of Information Awareness. Elliott Abrams, who misled Congress on Iran-contra and was pardoned by the first President Bush, is in charge of the Middle East for the second President Bush. Otto Reich, who worked with Ollie North and ran the covert program to get public support for the contras, now runs Latin American policy. Maybe instead of worrying about American children who don't do history lessons, we should worry about American presidents who don't care about the lessons of history. --Maurene Dowd, 12.11.02
E. Timor Dead: The Enduring Legacy of Gerald R. Ford, Chris FloydIt was Gerald R. Ford who took those famously amoral and criminally incompetent backroom operators, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, out of the lower quadrants of the twisted bowels of the Nixon White House and raised them to the highest levels of American government, where, in one form or another, overtly and covertly, they have inflicted their primitive ideology and violent psychodramas on the nation, and the world, for more than three decades.
But Ford's enduring legacy is in no way exhausted by the glories of his bloodthirsty political progeny. For the sad occasion of the statesman's death is certainly a most appropriate time to recall what is probably his greatest geopolitical masterstroke: the green-lighting of Indonesia's 1975 invasion of East Timor -- an act of state-sponsored terrorism that killed more than 200,000 people....
The Ford administration was a combination of cold war warriors (including Powell, Cheney, and Rumsfeld), big business bureaucrats (including O'Neill), and ideologues. Welcome to the Bush administration, a combination of cold war warriors, big business bureaucrats, and ideologues. If they're not from Ford's they're from Nixon's, Reagan's, and Poppy's administrations. In fact, at an average age of 59, the Bush administration is one of the oldest ever. More important than actual age, their thinking reflects a bygone era, particularly with respect to social policy. No matter what their positions are, what seems to hold most of the nominees together is their anti-abortion, anti-environment, pro-gun positions. Also, there are too many nominees who have been accused of being either racists or homophobes, which is surprising in both instances, given the members of the Bush team. And of course one bigot in a cabinet is one too many, particularly in such a key position. --Politex, 1/5/00
In the post Cold War world, Rumsfeld�s name usually appeared as a signatory on letters opposing various forms of arms control, including the Chemical Weapons Ban. But it�s only recently that Rumsfeld has truly reasserted himself as a patron saint of the anti-arms control/Star Warrior lobby. In 1996, Rumsfeld occupied a pivotal but stealthy position as Bob Dole�s defense advisor, thus ensuring that Dole made the latest incarnation of Star Wars a campaign centerpiece: Indeed, according to the candidate, America�s "top defense priority" had to be National Missile Defense, a scaled-down version of the grand Strategic Defense Initiative of the Reagan days. There was, however, a problem with Dole�s assertion: intelligence data and analysis didn�t bear out the necessity of rapid NMD deployment.... This time, however, the team---headed by ex-CIA director Robert Gates---essentially concurred with the National Intelligence Estimate. Once again, Gaffney prevailed on the Gingrichites for yet another assessment. Thus the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States was formed, with�.Donald Rumsfeld as chair. Widely characterized as "bipartisan in its conclusions," the final Rumsfeld Commission report was, for all intents and purposes, a Team B redux: the CIA, the report concluded, was wrong, and the very real threat of ICBM attack from a "rogue state" was at most five years away. Such an event, said Rumsfeld, could occur with "little or no warning." Rumsfeld�s reappointment to the Pentagon...portends the probable return to power of Reagan-era defense bureaucrats enamored of huge budgets, hi-tech weapons whose effectiveness is often overstated, and world views that have been unable to adjust to the post-Cold War world. Dismissive of the idea of a world community and the evolving problems it faces, Rumsfeld and his ilk will likely try to recast the global power dynamic as the one they�re more familiar with: a world of nuclear superpower polarity, where the guy who controls the balance of terror with the biggest nuclear arsenal wins. --Jason Vest, 2/28/01
Colin Powell: Secretary of State. "This is the man who opposed sending a few ships to the Persian Gulf before the invasion of Kuwait, even as a deterrent. This is the man who quarrelled with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, arguing that the Serbian army was as powerful and formidable as the Vietnamese. For him, the armed forces are a gleaming and expensive elite, to be maintained at vast cost but not to be dirtied by any deployment -- let alone in the dubious business of peacekeeping. The odd ceremonial workout in Grenada or Panama, against negligible or contemptible foes, is of course perfectly all right if not indeed necessary for morale. In the case of his two shameful cover-ups, in Vietnam and over the Iran-Contra affair, Mr. Powell again appears to have put the prestige of the military above any inconvenient ethical or legal concerns. In neither case was ignorance a possible defense. In Vietnam, junior soldiers and officers had come forward with courageous testimony about hideous actions against civilians. In the case of Iran-Contra, the policy of not supplying weapons to Iran was well-known and of long standing. In both instances, Mr. Powell seems to have acted to gratify immediate superiors and to short-circuit any unpleasantness. In both cases, he seems to have been rewarded for his correct guess about what an eager and ambitious junior was expected to do. All of this is well-known around Washington, and when I bring it up it's not as if people deny any of it. But it doesn't seem to count in the present anesthetic atmosphere. So we appear to be embarking on an era when the title of "team player" will be the highest definition, and when attitudes quite irrelevant to diplomacy (such as a correct view of inner-city youth, of role-models for same, and of the "war on drugs") will be expected to take precedence, and when bureaucratic conformism will give the necessary appearance of an orderly and smooth transition." --Christopher Hitchens, 12/26/00
Paul O'Neill: Treasury Secretary. "What's wrong with Mr. O'Neill? He built his business reputation by reversing efforts to transform Alcoa into something more than an aluminum company, instead refocusing on the core business and engaging in ruthless cost-cutting. This is all very well � but overseeing world financial markets is nothing at all like running a large, very old-economy, command- and-control corporation (or, for that matter, working the details of the federal budget). Mr. Rubin excelled at the deft strategic intervention � persuading investors, when the situation was on a knife edge, not to pull their money out and turn a temporary loss of confidence into a self-fulfilling prophecy of collapse. Perhaps Mr. O'Neill will reveal a comparable talent, but nothing in his career to date suggests that this is his sort of thing. And by the way: his long friendship with Alan Greenspan does not constitute a qualification. For all his qualities, Mr. Greenspan is not God. The Treasury Department doesn't need a Greenspan acolyte to second the great man's views; it needs a secretary who, like Mr. Rubin, has enough independent knowledge and gravitas to supplement Mr. Greenspan's judgment, and if necessary challenge it. Despite Mr. O'Neill's long association with conservative causes, his appointment does not please the hard right. But given Mr. Bush's decision to cave in to the hard right on the crucial matter of the Justice Department, simply appointing a treasury secretary who isn't rabid isn't much of a bipartisan gesture. And last but not negligibly, Mr. O'Neill is � surprise! � an old colleague of Mr. Cheney's. And one suspects they are kindred spirits: like Mr. Cheney before his own re-entry into politics, Mr. O'Neill belongs to the class of businessmen the Japanese call amakudari, "descended from heaven" � former government officials who later in life enter the business world at the top, not the bottom." --Paul Krugman, 12/24/00
Al Gonzales: White House Counsel. "Alberto Gonzales, a man Bush put on the Texas Supreme Court in 1999, to be the new White House Counsel. Yet Justice Gonzales has been a focus of ethical controversy in Texas, with the organization Texans for Public Justice noting that Gonzales like other Texas Supreme Court Justices have taken large amounts of money from the Cheney-run Halliburton companies, then ruled in favor of the company in cases that came before the Court....Making the Gonzales conflict even more controversial is the fact that before being appointed to office, Gonzales had been a partner at the law firm Vinson & Elkins, L.L.P. in Houston which had Halliburton as a major client. And Gonzales worked in the section where Halliburton was represented where he had a strong relationship with the firm.... Cheney's Halliburton corporation, through its executives and its separate subsidiaries, was the second-largest corporate contributor to Texas Supreme Court races in the last three election cycles, contributing over $79,000 to the Justices. Five times in the past seven years, cases involving Halliburton have come before the Texas Supreme Court, and each time the Court has either ruled for the company or refused to hear an appeal of a favorable verdict for the firm from a lower court. ...With bitter feelings among many voters that Bush used a conservative US Supreme Court to engineer his election as President, it is shocking that he would appoint as White House Counsel a man embroiled in controversy for taking contributions from Bush's Vice President's firm and favoring that company in judicial decisions. Bush has a history of using the courts to favor his corporate supporters and the appointment of Gonzales shows that he has no attention of abandoning that tradition he established in Texas. As his first legal-related appointment as President-Elect, it shows that Bush has the intention of continuing his use of the courts to undemocratically engineer victories for himself and his corporate supporters." --Nathan Newman, 12/18/00
John Ashcroft: Attorney General. " To put matters as Bush might, Ashcroft is a divider, not a uniter. Ashcroft is flat-out antiabortion -- no qualifiers for him, thank you. Ashcroft's positions on abortion and contraception are of a piece with a rigidly conservative and dogmatic outlook. He has no use for legislation outlawing discrimination against gays, he gets failing grades from conservation outfits, and his opposition to the National Endowment for the Arts appears to be a quaint attempt to revive Babbittry. Ashcroft has earned the enmity of pro-choice women's groups, of conservation organizations, of civil libertarians, of gays and of Missouri's black community. He is not a down-the-middle appointee. He is, instead, a poke in the eye to these very groups. He is, in short, the sort of nominee you might expect from a president who had won a mandate. This president did not even win the election. Ashcroft is Bush's gift to the GOP right wing. Fine, but put him somewhere he can't do any damage. Justice is not the place. I can't imagine he will zealously protect abortion clinics. I can't believe that he will wonder why minorities are disproportionately represented on Uncle Sam's death row, and I can't believe -- still and to this day -- that a potential attorney general accepted an honorary degree from that fount of bigotry, Bob Jones University. Ashcroft did. This is not the man to enforce the nation's civil rights laws." --Richard Cohen, WP, 1/2/01
Christine Todd Whitman: Environmental Protection Agency. "Mrs. Whitman took office in 1994 and sharply altered the regulatory policy of her predecessor, Jim Florio, a zealous environmental advocate who had written the federal Superfund law while in Congress. Conservatives in Congress who have long wanted to cut back or eliminate the environmental agency might be cheered by a review of Mrs. Whitman's first term: Frequently blaming the state Department of Environmental Protection for causing job losses, she cut its budget by 30 percent and laid off hundreds of workers. She ordered that state regulations be no more stringent than federal rules. And she cut inspections, eliminated penalties and introduced grace periods for violators, to the point that collections of environmental fines plunged 80 percent.... Some New Jersey environmentalists say that she is a foe doing a remarkable job of masquerading as a friend, loudly preaching the eco- gospel while hobbling regulatory enforcement efforts, chipping away at pollution-control standards, and supporting controversial development projects in New Jersey's vanishing wetlands and woods. Her record as governor includes noteworthy clashes between state regulators and the Environmental Protection Agency over wetlands development, clean air and clean water, raising questions about how Mrs. Whitman will guide policy at the federal level." --NYT, 12/26/00
Tommy Thompson: Health and Human Services Secretary. "During his 14-year tenure as governor, Thompson has employed federal waivers to build a social policy that is deeply conservative, but not entirely simple to classify. To the delight of the GOP's right wing, Thompson is an abortion opponent. He signed legislation that requires Wisconsin women seeking an abortion to first obtain counseling on alternatives, then wait three days for the procedure, if they still want it. His views on Medicaid, the public health insurance program for the poor and disabled, reflect conservative thinking, too. He has been one of the main proponents of converting Medicaid to a system of block grants to states. The idea won Republican support in Congress in 1995 but ultimately failed, proving so contentious that it contributed to the shutdown of the federal government late that year." --Washington Post, 12/30/00..."The biggest question mark about Mr. Thompson is his record on abortion. He is adamantly pro-life, and signed some of the nation's harshest anti-abortion laws. One, blocked by the Supreme Court, would have imposed sentences up to life on doctors who perform so-called partial birth abortions. Mr. Thompson cannot change the basic laws governing a woman's right to choose, but his department is enormously important to women's reproductive freedoms. For example, under President Clinton officials at the department fought hard to make available the "morning-after" pill, whose use is opposed by many right-to-life groups. The fear among women's groups is that Mr. Thompson will reverse this and other enlightened policies." --NYT ED, 12/30/00
Gale Norton: Interior Secretary . "Norton is a prot�g� of James Watt, President Reagan's controversial Interior secretary from 1981 to 1983. She worked for Watt while he was president of the Mountain States Legal Foundation, a conservative organization that strongly supports "takings" legislation and logging and mining on the nation's public lands. She also served in the Reagan administration, first in the Agriculture Department and then in the Interior Department where she helped advocate for the Reagan administration's position on oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. As Colorado Attorney General, Norton was instrumental in creating the state's "self audit" program, which gives businesses immunity from litigation and fines if they voluntarily report and correct violations of environmental laws. 'Abraham and Norton's nominations are terrible news for the majority of Americans who rank protecting the nation's air, water and national resources among their top priorities,' said LCV President Deb Callahan." --League of Conservation Voters, 1/2/00
Spencer Abraham: Energy Secretary. "Mr. Bush's choice for energy secretary is Spencer Abraham, the recently defeated junior senator from Michigan. During his brief career on Capitol Hill, Mr. Abraham introduced a bill to abolish the very department he has now been asked to run. His selection is also a further insult to environmentalists still reeling from Mr. Bush's selection last Friday of Gale Norton as interior secretary. In the continuing struggle between the preservation of the country's natural resources and their exploitation, Mr. Abraham, like Ms. Norton, clearly favors exploitation. He, too, supports Mr. Bush's wholly unnecessary scheme to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil exploration. On the basis of his voting record � which routinely received zero ratings from the League of Conservation Voters � he is likely to champion an energy strategy that depends far more on production than on conservation, though any sensible policy would give at least equal weight to both. Similarly, he seems indifferent to issues that interested the incumbent secretary, Bill Richardson, including the development of cleaner cars and alternative fuels and, in general, a more energy-efficient economy. He also voted to roll back federal clean water and clean air programs." --NYT, 1/3/01
Condoleezza Rice: National Security Adviser. In 1963, when Rice was 8, the Movement arrived. Civil-rights activists urged schoolchildren to march; when the kids were in the streets, they were fire-hosed by the Birmingham Police Department and chased by dogs (as the TV cameras rolled). Rice�s father urged the local schoolchildren not to participate in the demonstrations, though he did take Condi downtown to watch....The Birmingham demonstrations raised the consciousness of the federal government and the liberal establishment. Civil-rights bills became law, and affirmative action followed. Rice was a beneficiary. Realizing that she would never make it as a concert pianist, she became fascinated by the study of power; her mentor was Soviet specialist Josef Korbel, the father of future secretary of State Madeleine Albright. An able student, Rice was vaulted ahead into various prestigious fellowships in academe and government: after graduating from the University of Denver at 19 and getting a master�s at Notre Dame, she taught at Stanford and worked at the Pentagon for the then chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Colin Powell. One of the men who �discovered� her, Brent Scowcroft, the elder Bush�s national-security adviser, recalls how �this slip of a girl� could stand up and ask sharp (but respectful) questions of her elders. Scowcroft gave her a job on the national-security staff, handling Russian affairs. By the time she was 40, Rice was on the board of Chevron and had an oil tanker named after her. In 1993, Rice was snapped up as the first black woman and youngest-ever provost of Stanford University.
The politically correct faculty hailed the appointment�but many soon regretted it. �She set a tone of open season on minorities and women,� recalls Linda Mabry, former associate professor at Stanford Law School. During the Rice years (1993-1999), the tenure rate for women professors declined, as did the number of African-Americans on the faculty. At a faculty meeting, a political scientist tried to introduce a resolution to make affirmative action an explicit criterion in granting tenure. Rice strongly opposed it��as long as I am at Stanford,� she vowed. As they left the room, a professor remarked to Rice on the tension. �After you�ve talked the Ukrainians out of their nuclear missiles, this stuff is just child�s play,� she responded. After she fired a Chicana dean, students taunted her for being a traitor. �You can�t pull that on me,� she told them. �I�ve been black all my life.�
In April 1998, Rice was asked by her Stanford colleague, former secretary of State George Shultz, to attend a foreign-policy seminar for Texas Gov. George W. Bush. �You could see then that they clicked,� Shultz recalls. Rice was soon flying to Austin to tutor the GOP presidential candidate. During the campaign, Bush would sometimes blurt out a foreign-policy �instinct,� and it would be up to Rice to make sense of it. This could take some doing. During the presidential debates, Bush said he wanted to pull U.S. soldiers from the Balkans, saying it was Europe�s time to �put troops on the ground.� In fact, most peacekeeping troops were already European. Rice valiantly tried to spin the press about �a new division of labor� with the allies, but it took about a year to soothe their feelings. Bush�s moral impulses were easier to channel after 9-11. Rice was one of Bush�s advisers who instantly saw that the war on terror was global....[Rice in national security meetings] appreciates�and tries to promote�creative chaos, but sometimes there is just chaos. Notes of national-security meetings about the assault on the Taliban leaked to The Washington Post�s Bob Woodward reveal a process so freewheeling that it verges on the unmanageable. --Newsweek 12.16.02.
Don Evans: Commerce Secretary
Ann Veneman: Agriculture Secretary
Mel Martinez: Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary
Karen Hughes: President's counselor
Norman Mineta: Transportation Secretary
"Old fossils are still hanging around Washington waiting for somebody to give them another job. George W. Bush just did. Trolled the Metropolitan Club, or someplace like it, to fill his cabinet with has-beens. Read the list of nominees so far. It's a bunch of Republican retreads. Six of them -- Colin Powell, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and Veterans Affairs Director Anthony Principi -- served in the first Bush administration. Four of them -- Powell, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Labor Secretary Linda Chavez and Interior Secretary Gale Norton -- were in the Reagan White House. Four men -- Powell, Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill -- worked for President Ford. Rumsfeld's presidential pedigree even goes back to President Nixon. The only one missing from this list of ancient Republicans is Henry Kissinger! We've seen this movie before. It's called ``Back to the Future.''
"How ironic. Bush campaigned as a Washington outsider, then fills his cabinet with Washington insiders. Clearly, Bush had to pick a couple of grown-ups to make up for his own lack of experience. But there's a danger in choosing so many political graybeards. First, it's not what people want. As confusing as the 2000 presidential campaign was, one thing was clear: Americans were voting for the first presidency of the new millennium, not for a rerun of failed attempts of the old. If we wanted a repeat of the old Bush administration, we would have elected George H., not George W. Plus, it's not that they all did such a great job the first time around. Colin Powell originally opposed Desert Storm, then ended it by leaving Saddam Hussein in power. Gale Norton worked as deputy to James Watt, perhaps the most inept Interior Secretary in history. Why do either of them deserve another time at bat?
"But the most important reason for not looking backward in making so many appointments is: The world has changed since these folks last put on their government knickers. Big time, as Dick Cheney would say. This is especially so in the case of Don Rumsfeld. True, he served as secretary of Defense under Ford. Did a good job, too. But that was 26 years ago: back when there was still a Soviet Union, America was still fighting the Cold War and George Bush was still in his reckless 20s. Before we had to deal with government-sponsored terrorism, threats of chemical warfare and regional conflicts in Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor and Rwanda. Today's changed times demand a new way of looking at defense strategy, spending and capability. Yesterday's ideas and leaders no longer fit. Bush's reliance on the past is particularly surprising, given the number of young leaders in the Republican party. Tthere is no lack of new leaders and new ideas in the Republican party. But new leaders and new ideas are sadly lacking in the Bush administration." --Bill Press, 1/4/01
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