A profile in cowardice

The President, faced with a choice between protecting his friend and doing his job, ducks.

If George W. Bush thinks that Karl Rove didn’t do what Matt Cooper’s notes say he did, Bush ought to defend his friend against a false accusation.

If George W. Bush subscribes to the latest appalling wingnut notion — that any CIA officer who disagrees with White House policy deserves to be outed — then he ought to have the manhood to stand up and say so, expressing his support for his friend’s action. (He might explain later why his friend felt he had to do such an honorable and patriotic deed on “double super secret background.”)

But if he believes that his friend did what he’s accused of, and still believes that outing an undercover CIA officer is “a criminal action,” then he ought to put loyalty to county ahead of loyalty to friend and faction, and ask for Rove’s resignation, or at the very least put him on paid leave and suspend his access to classified information.

The sad news is that the President of the United States is, not at all a fool, but rather an utterly unprincipled coward.

“I will … not prejudge … based on media reports”??????

Well, how about asking? Who’s in charge here, anyway?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com