- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2001

They could see the plumes of smoke from the International Space Station, wisps of gray on a beautiful blue and green planet 200 miles below. None of the terrible twists of steel beneath the smoke were visible, of course, from space; neither were the mountains of pulverized concrete, the flurries of charred paperwork, nor any of the broken bodies. Where the twin towers of the World Trade Center stood in Lower Manhattan until Tuesday morning, astronauts orbiting the Earth saw just a few smudges.
Such a perspective is about as big as the "big picture" gets for mere mortals. On the Earth, across the nation and in the capital, the focus is necessarily tighter, the frame necessarily smaller, as we struggle to lift ourselves from the rubble, both literally and figuratively, and see a new day. What that day looks like urgently depends upon the strength and manner with which President Bush responds to the unconscionable attack on American life and liberty in essence, upon his own view of the big picture. How scandalous and how perilous if his best efforts were to be undermined by something as small-minded as the political gamesmanship that has left his administration, to date, grossly understaffed.
This is a serious problem. As the Weekly Standard's David Tell noted last week, "nearly eight months after Inauguration Day, it remains unclear whether the 'Bush administration' actually warrants that designation." Two Cabinet-level posts still remain vacant including that of U.N. Ambassador-designate John D. Negroponte, a vital post during this crisis as well as dozens of high-level positions responsible for the daily functioning of the government. Last month, last week even a few days ago the power plays and bureaucratic creep that have kept so many confirmations on hold could be put down to the workings of a closely divided government. That was then. Today, such machinations stand out as irrelevant luxuries of an era that is over. The task now before our nation, which is nothing less than to restore our violated security and stolen liberties, demands a fully operational executive branch.
We have heard, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on America, the calls for bipartisanship on Capitol Hill. We have even heard the Congress, en masse, burst into a chorus of "God Bless America." Now is the time for action: to get the Democratic Senate to end its political foot-dragging and put the Bush administration to work immediately for the good of the nation. That's the kind of big picture any American would thrill to see.


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