Tuesday, March 30, 2004
The Heroic Bureaucrat and the Creepy Administration Villain
WP - The Wonk That Roared
Richard Clarke, rushing to the White House as hijacked planes crash into buildings on 9/11, barks into a phone: "Activate the CSG on secure video."
This is the first time we hear his voice in "Against All Enemies," and it captures the man: He issues commands, speaks in acronyms, understands the interdepartmental communications infrastructure. He knows how to run a video conference. He knows who's in the PEOC and how many minutes until the CAP is in place. He is the one who activates the COG.
Running a meeting of the Counterterrorism Security Group, Clarke is the kind of man who says, "POTUS is inbound Offutt. I need video connectivity to STRATCOM and I need them to have this PowerPoint."
(Whereas POTUS himself -- the President of the United States -- is the kind of man who says in a meeting with Clarke and others, "I don't care what the international lawyers say, we are going to kick some ass.")
Despite his procedural virtuosity, no one could call Clarke a pencil-pusher. No, he's pistol-packing. He writes that, late on the night of the attacks, "I had to get back to the White House and begin planning to prevent follow-on attacks. I found my Secret Service-issued .357 sidearm, thrust it in my belt, and went back out into the night, back to the West Wing."
Richard Clarke: The alpha-bureaucrat.
el - Of course, Heroic Bureacrats must battle Creepy Administration Villains.
Demonstrators Swarm Around Rove's Home
Several hundred people stormed the small yard of President Bush's chief political strategist, Karl Rove, yesterday afternoon, pounding on his windows, shoving signs at others and challenging Rove to talk to them about a bill that deals with educational opportunities for immigrants.
At one point, Rove rushed to a window, pointed a finger and yelled something inaudible.
Shortly thereafter, sirens shot through the neighborhood and Secret Service agents and D.C. police joined the crowd on the lawn. Rove opened his door long enough to talk to an officer, and the crowd serenaded them with a stanza of "America the Beautiful."
After about 30 minutes of goading by protesters in English and Spanish, Rove agreed to meet with two members of the coalition on the condition that the rest of the protesters board their buses and leave his street. The group obliged.
Rove opened his garage door and allowed Palacios and Inez Killingsworth to enter. The meeting lasted two minutes and ended with Rove closing the garage door on Palacios while she was still talking.
Palacios said that Rove was "very upset" and was "yelling in our faces" and that Rove told them "he hoped we were proud to make his 14-year-old and 10-year-old cry."
A White House spokesman said one of the children was a neighbor.
Palacios, trembling and in tears herself, said, "He is very offended because we dared to come here. We dared to come here because he dared to ignore us. I'm sorry we disturbed his children, but our children are disturbed every day.
"He also said, 'Don't ever dare to come back,' " Palacios said. "We will, if he continues to ignore us."