Inside the Beltway: Rumsfeld rule for Obama

Donald H. Rumsfeld has created considerable buzz with his book “Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life,” which includes 400 advisories for those who would be leaders. Among those rules: American is not what’s wrong with the world. If you expect people to be on the landing, include them in the takeoff. If you’re coasting, you’re going downhill.

But wait. Does Mr. Rumsfeld have a rule for President Obama? Why yes. He does.

“When I was a Navy pilot, the rule if you’re lost is to climb, conserve and confess. Get some altitude. Take a deep breath, and get on the radio and say, you’re lost,” Mr. Rumsfeld told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“They keep saying things that are different week after week after week, whether it’s Benghazi or whether it’s the Internal Revenue Service. What you need to do is get the people in the office, sit them down, and find ground truth, because the currency a leader has is credibility. And to the extent that credibility gets eroded over time, you lose your ability to lead,” Mr. Rumsfeld concluded.

AND IN SUMMATION

“Looks to me like the IRS has got something to hide here. The White House has changed the story of what happened and what they knew and when they knew it about half a dozen times already. And it’s clear that this appears to be a pervasive problem. As I said last week, I’m not interested in who’s going to resign, I’m interested in who’s going to jail.”

— House Speaker John A. Boehner, to Fox News.

RUBIO’S RIGHT AND WRONG

“The president is correct to highlight the successes in America’s war on terror that have occurred since Sept. 11, 2001, even though many of them were the result of policies that he denigrated in his speech today,” says Sen. Marco Rubio, referring to President Obama’s speech on counterterrorism policy.

“He is wrong, however, to understate the continued threat to the U.S. homeland or to suggest that the lethality of the threats posed by a weakened al Qaeda and its affiliates is a return to a pre-9/11 norm that Americans should just accept,” the Florida Republican continues.

“But we also need to ensure we don’t make the government out to be a greater threat than those who want to kill us. The terrorist bombings in Boston last month show us that the threat is real and that it remains. Unfortunately, the president seems too focused on declaring the war over and returning to the law enforcement approach to counterterrorism that characterized America’s response to terror prior to 9/11.”

THE NRA REPUTATION

Despite media efforts to vilify the National Rifle Association, the organization currently enjoys a fairly harmonious reputation with the American public.

“Overall impressions about the political influence of the National Rifle Association are about the same today as they were in the days following the Newtown, Conn., tragedy in December. Currently, 39 percent think the NRA has too much influence over gun control laws in this country; about half (53 percent) say either that the NRA has the right amount of influence (35 percent) or that it has too little influence (18 percent) over gun control laws,” says a new Pew Research Center for the People & the Press poll.

A majority appears at ease with the NRA presence on the legislative radar. But partisan differences are stark indeed.

“There is a wider gap in opinions about the NRA’s influence between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans than in December. In the current survey, 77 percent of liberal Democrats say the NRA has too much influence over gun control laws, up from 59 percent in December. By contrast, more conservative Republicans say the NRA has the right amount of influence than did so in December — 58 percent now, 46 percent then,” the poll says.

THE U.S. REPUTATION

Do we care? A BBC World Service poll of 26,000 people in 25 countries rates Germany as the most popular nation on the planet. But the respondents were fairly finicky, only granting the nation a 59 percent favorability rating. The win is a reward to Germany “for diligent diplomacy,” surmises BBC analyst Stephen Evans.

And the U.S.? The behemoth BBC poll found Canada is in second place, followed by Britain, Japan, France, the European Union, Brazil, the U.S., China and South Korea. The U.S. favorability rating is, incidentally, 45 percent. Iran is at the bottom of the list, with a 15 percent rating.

CULTURAL MOMENT

“Maple Bacon, Blueberry Pancake, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Fireball Cinnamon, Buttered Popcorn, Cherrykran, Lemon Tea, Mango Passionatefruit, Raspberry Pomegranite. Rainbow Sherbet.”

— Among the choices of 21 new flavored vodkas introduced in the first quarter of 2013 by manufacturers.

“Spirits suppliers came to market with compelling products featuring interesting and sometimes unexpected flavor profiles. Consumers were intrigued,” notes Donna Hood Crecca, a senior analyst at Technomics, a consumer tracking group.

POLL DU JOUR

56 percent of U.S. voters say it would be “better” if the U.S. went back to the health care system that was in place in 2009;85 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of conservatives, 30 percent of Democrats and 27 percent of liberals agree.

34 percent of voters overall say it would be better to leave the new health care law in place; 7 percent of Republicans, 18 percent of conservatives, 61 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of liberals agree.

53 percent overall say they expect their health care to be “worse off” as Obamacare goes into effect; 85 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of conservatives, 48 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of liberals agree.

26 percent say their health care will be “better off” when Obamacare goes into effect; 3 percent of Republicans, 16 percent of conservatives, 48 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of liberals agree.

Source: A Fox News survey of 1,013 registered U.S. voters conducted May 18 to 20.

Tip line always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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