40 Winks

I’d like to get a good night’s sleep. But the Terror Threat makes that tough. Mr Bush has a legacy to craft. It will be around the War on Terror (yes, damn it, it is a War) and the commitment to Homeland Security. I want his Legacy to be Churchillian. Which means we need … politics aside … a Dream Team in intelligence, defense, and homeland security. Of the three, Defense is in the best shape, Rummy’s miscalculations notwithstanding. The man has caused a revolution in military thinking, as I see it. Intelligence and Homeland Security are different kettles of fish.

So here’s my Dream Team. As I blogged several days ago I almost desperately want former IBM chief Lou Gerstner as the new intelligence czar. (The enabling legislation was signed into law today.) Smart. Tough. Independent. A bureaucracy buster. At Defense, I’d send Rummy packing and beg John McCain to take over. He is savvy—and would deeply appeal to the troops.

But in these post-BernieK days, I’ve mostly been thinking about DHS. Here’s my surprise pick: Robert Rubin. He’s made his political bones as Treasury chief; he’s up to it. He’s instinctively bi-partisan. He’s urban (read New York) in his prejudices, a good thing when it comes to homeland security—face it, my beloved Vermont is not a target. He’s independent like Gerstner and McCain. (Not a “yes man” bone among the three.) And, above all, he knows his probabilities—thanks to a Big Brain and superlative Wall Street training. And I’ve decided we need, to build a lasting DHS, a human calculator who will measure and debate the odds of various nightmare scenarios and apply resources accordingly. Mr Ridge may have done a decent (too decent?) job of calming us down, but he did damn all to create a Revolutionary Organization—which I believe DHS must be if I’m to ever sleep soundly again!

Truth is, when I imagine a Gerstner-McCain-Rubin team, I go as weak in the knees as when thinking about that first, basketball Dream Team. What a trio! My “sixth man,” as they say in basketball (fourth in this case), is Giuliani—again, the words “tough,” “smart” and “independent” come to mind.

How do you like my team? And my reasoning? Do you agree that we need—like Churchill’s cabinet in WWII—above all strong-willed, brilliant, tough leaders in all these slots? I salivate on behalf of President Bush over this Quartet; I think he would dramatically up the odds of leaving a Rushmorean Legacy behind if he truly played the “War President” role and went in a direction like this.

Tom Peters posted this on December 17, 2004, in News.
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