July 14, 2011

TOO HONEST FOR THIS ADMINISTRATION:

What’s Wrong With Panetta?: He’s smart, careful, and politically astute. Yet suddenly, the newly minted secretary of Defense is a gaffe machine. (Leslie H. Gelb, Jul 13, 2011, Daily Beast)

Something’s amiss with Leon Panetta. He is a very smart and very careful guy who is making one startling verbal slip after another, everything from chalking up the Iraq War, inexplicably and incorrectly, to al Qaeda’s presence in that country to saying, again mistakenly, that there would be 70,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. He just isn’t the guy I met in 1966, when we both worked for moderate Republican senators. This isn’t the guy who’s watched and balanced his words for more than four decades in politics. Maybe his slips result from this really being the first time in his life that the world’s spotlight is directly on him, with reporters and wave makers hanging on his every word. Oftentimes, that propels even the most cautious to spout off. Or possibly it’s the pressure from the hard decisions he now faces as Defense secretary, namely America’s safe passage out of three wars, to say nothing of the awesome pressures he confronts in cutting military spending.

They're very much Kinsley gaffes he's making and are entirely of a piece with his generally exemplary career. Indeed, the one time that something genuinely seemed amiss was when he was reduced to defending Bill Clinton during the impeachment mess.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at July 14, 2011 2:38 PM
  
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