On the way out
From the Palm Beach Post-
Defeated U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw said he and other House Republicans might have kept their jobs if Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation had come before the midterm elections instead of the day after.First I want to wish former Congressman Shaw well in his retirement. Because of his health, I don't see Shaw either running for office again or taking any permanent or semi-permanent appointed position.
Thirteen-term incumbent Shaw spoke to reporters Friday morning for the first time since his defeat by Democrat Ron Klein, who focused on President Bush and the war in Iraq and called repeatedly for Rumsfeld's removal. Shaw defended the war during the campaign and said the Rumsfeld question was "above my paygrade" and was Bush's to make.
When Bush announced Rumsfeld's resignation Wednesday, Shaw said, "obviously my first impression was that the extra votes that I needed would have been there...I think it could have made a difference in who's running the Congress." Shaw said he questioned the timing of Rumsfeld's departure when he spoke for about 10 minutes Friday morning with White House adviser Karl Rove.
Shaw said Rove called to commiserate on Shaw's loss.
"He (Rove) said, and I understand it now, that he (Bush) didn't want our soldiers to think he was was doing that for political purposes to get a leg up on the election," Shaw said. "I'm glad I had that explanation." Shaw, tarrred by Klein as too supportive of the unpopular president, said he doesn't regret his loyalty to Bush.
"I think loyalty is important, but not blind loyalty," Shaw said.
Shaw, 67, said he hasn't made definite plans yet on what he'll do when he's out of office. A lung cancer survivor, he said he had a clean bill of health when he had a check-up on Wednesday.
I do agree with Shaw in believing Rumsfeld should have been removed some time ago and have stated so. The cause of US troubles in Iraq lay mostly at the Sec of Defense's feet. He was an easy target for the American public who have lost faith in what the US was doing in Iraq and therefore a drain on the GOP in the 2006 election.
If Rumsfeld had resigned prior to the election would have changed GOP fortunes, we'll never know. I've do however feel Bush made this change at least two years too late.
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