Will Tom Ridge be smeared by the Bush pushback team for revealing in print what was common knowledge inside the beltway? That as the U.S.'s first Homeland Security czar (Bernie Kerik wasn't available), Ridge was marginalized at almost every turn and pressured to raise security alerts to satisfy the political whims of the White House?
Does a bear shit in the woods? Of course he will be smeared and that smearing has already begun with the usual suspects -- Andrew Card and Frances Townsend -- in the van.
While he isn't high on my list of dynamic public servants, I respect Ridge, who unlike most of his peers had the cojones to not take kindly to being manipulated by the Bush administration and resigned on principle -- albeit quietly and now retroactively.
I also once did Ridge a small, if unacknowledged favor. When he ran for Pennsylvania governor in 1994, his opponent started a whispering campaign that Ridge had cut short his tour of duty in Vietnam because he was a malingerer. The truth, as I learned after filing a Freedom of Information request for his service records, was that he suffered a severe ear injury from an exploding shell that rendered him partially deaf and was sent stateside to recuperate.
There were, of course, innumerable instances when the Bushies played the terror card -- from the imminent threat that suddenly appeared when a G-woman went public in 2002 to reveal that the FBI could have blown the 9/11 plot wide open to
the day that the agent was to testify before Congress when the president suddenly dropped his resistance to a Homeland Security Department and the Kerik farce began its brief and inglorious run.
And so another Bush era shoe drops. Can there be many left?