A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Thompson's resignation speech. . .

. . .seems to have touched a nerve with a lot of conservatives who are quick to point an accusatory finger at anyone who dares raise a legitimate point regarding the state of our national security. I think this is an unhealthy development within the party, and that it sets the loyalty benchmark too high.

As an outgoing department head, Thompson is at least somewhat obliged to address the issues that he feels were inadequately remedied during his tenure. And, if Thompson sincerely believes what he said in that speech, he is just as obliged to be honest about it. It seems that many Bush supporters have adopted an overly defensive posture, waiting to pounce on any factoid that might suggest anything short of perfection in our nation's security and the administration's role in maintaining it.

But, stop and think for a moment about the inevitable consequence of Thompson's words. He has raised our nation's food supply as a critically unprotected avenue for terrorists seeking to murder innocent Americans. So, what do you suppose will be the focus in the process of nominating and confirming his replacement? Up until now, Democrats could have demagogued any number of issues, from flu vaccines to the availability of birth control in poor urban areas in the process. But, whether or not he did it intentionally, Thompson has trumped all of that, and the focus will now be exactly where it ought to be.

Even if Thompson's motives weren't pure -- and I'm in no position to say either way -- I don't think this was the departing shot that many conservatives have said it is in their zeal to shield the President from criticism. In the months before the election, I understood this need to question the motives of the people who raised alarmist issues in the context of the presidential race. But, now, the President is no longer running for office, and as eager as the Democrats are to tar him for whatever reason, his seat in the White House is secured, and he has a lot of work to do before this nation is in any sense secure from terrorist attacks.

Like any president before and after him, George W. Bush wants to leave behind a legacy of which he can be proud, and his supporters can point to with pride in having been a part of it. It does neither him, his legacy, nor the interests of the nation any good to accuse Tommy Thompson of disloyalty when he raises a true and very valid point in his departing speech. He may have done this nation a great service in raising the point. Because, now, we have to talk about the security of our nation's food supply throughout the confirmation process.

I kind of like that idea.

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