Placating Bullies

I disagree profoundly on many issues with Condoleeza Rice and Colin Powell.  But given Vice President Cheney’s memoir, I’ve softened. However much money they’ve made. It isn’t enough. For all times you stayed classy under fire and provocation, I hope that you haven’t developed health issues.

But honestly, at some point you can stay classy but still call people out.  Here’s my take on their response to In My Time.

Colin Powell:

It was not the kind of headline I would have expected to come from a former Vice President of the United States of America. Mister Cheney had a long and distinguished career and I opened his book that’s what he would focus on, not these cheap shots that he’s taking at me and other members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for President Bush,” Fmr. Secretary of State General Colin Powell said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.”

a)  Mister Cheney saved his most disparaging remarks for African American members of the cabinet.

b) The high road will not inspire the former vice president to better behavior.  He’s not part of your command structure.  Remember, he had better things to do than to go to Vietnam.

c) Long and distinguished? Seriously? Whatever happened to the logs from the Enron meeting? Did they ever turn up?

Condoleeza Rice:

“It certainly doesn’t sound like me, now, does it?” Rice said in the interview. “I would never — I don’t remember coming to the vice president tearfully about anything in the entire eight years that I knew him.”

“I did say to him that he had been right about the press reaction” to the administration’s acknowledgment that the remarks about Iraq seeking uranium in Africa should not have been in Bush’s speech, Rice said.

“And so I did say to the vice president, ‘you know, you were right about the press reaction.’ But I am quite certain that I didn’t do it tearfully,” she said.

a) I believe you. You  were plenty forceful when you opposed Colin Powell’s pro-affirmative action stance.

b) Parsing your response? Overall impressions matter here. Mr. Cheney’s showing his contempt for what he perceives to be your overly emotional (read: feminine) self. He’s  not trying to be accurate.  Rejecting this outright would have been the wiser choice.


I blame President Bush for lots of this. I believe he allowed and enjoyed the environment that Cheney created.  And referring to his  distinguished cabinet members as his family? What are they, domestic help?

“I’m glad members of my family are giving their version of what it was like to serve the country,” said the former president. Referring to his own memoir, which was released last year, he added, “I did the same thing. I put my version out there. Eventually objective historians will analyze our administration and draw objective conclusions.”

The big lesson here?

Placating bullies never ever works.


About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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