Steve Clemons is naive. Very naive:
The Washington Note: We are going to see the implosion of the Bush presidency I think -- and just like Watergate -- there needs to be space for the William Cohen types and Howard Baker types of this Congress to join in a collaborative spirit with Democrats to save this country. The problem... is... how reluctant the White House will be to cooperate -- even if the President wants to tack towards a new and constructive direction.... But Bush will not go quietly -- and more importantly -- the allies for a better direction in foreign policy who actually do exist in hidden corners of the Bush administration are dominated by Cheney's followers throughout the national security bureaucracy.
I think that the Baker-Hamilton report... will call for a new, expansive commitment to regional deal-making.... I think George Bush will find the report compelling -- and I think he will order his team to try and "operationalize" as much of the Baker-Hamilton report as possible. But it won't happen. It will be undermined in the weeds, in the nuts and bolts details, consensus will be derailed, themes reversed after Cheney convinces Bush that parts of the report are politically naive and dangerous to American and Israeli interests. I think it will be slowly torn apart by a thousand cuts....
Cheney doesn't need to tell his followers -- embedded in every significant part of the nation's national security bureaucracy -- what to do... they know what to do.... Cheney's acolytes will see a new equilibrium in the MIddle East as code for selling out Israel's security interests because they do see these issues in zero sum terms, even if the President of the United States does not (by then).
Cheney's people, if not neutralized, will derail any new opportunities or directions. They need to be exposed as part of the broad Cheney network and pushed to the side. That is the only way to let some other policy possibilities to take root in the next two years of the Bush administration.... [W]ithout neutralizing Cheney down to the roots of his power -- policy and political anarchy lie ahead for the country.
Steve believes that the Bush administration is like the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim the Sot: a weak, incompetent, and easily-led ruler dominated by evil viziers who are strong, incompetent, evil, and forceful. If only the bad viziers--Cheney and his friends--could be replaced by good viziers, all would be well.
Don't believe it. Stupid, ill-informed, and incompetent as he is, George W. Bush has views. He does not want to change his mind. And, whether or not there once was an opportunity to convince George W. Bush to follow not-insane, not-destructive, not-criminal, and not-stupid policies, that moment has passed.
In the real word, "neutralizing Cheney down to the roots of his power" requires impeaching and removing from office Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Hadley, and company.
The cossacks work for the Czar, Steve.