Why the Democrats may forgive Robert Gates

Yesterday, just after President Bush announced that he would nominate Robert Gates to replace Donald Rumsfeld, I suggested that Gates would not enjoy his confirmation hearings. After all, they will be chaired by Sen. Levin who helped lead the charge against Gates when Gates was nominated to head the CIA in 1991. Levin ended up voting against Gates. He cited Gates’ alleged dishonesty in answering questions about Iran-Contra, the liberal cause celebre of a few years earlier.
But I made my prediction before I knew about Gates’ close relationship with former Secretary of State Baker, the man heading up the commission that trying to figure out what to do about Iraq. Reportedly, the commission is seriously thinking about enlisting our friends the Syrians and Iranians to cover our exit.
Now, Iran-Contra was a constitutional crisis of epic proportion, and the sins committed by the Republican administration at that time can never be forgotten. But Sen. Levin is a big-hearted guy. And if Gates is prepared to facilitate a U.S. defeat in Iraq, Levin may be willing to overlook Gates’ past conduct, odious though it was.
I may be the one who doesn’t enjoy the Gates hearings.

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