Having apparently spent sufficient time with his family since being sacked, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is battling to rebuild his disgraced image. In Phase One, he sought to set the terrain with a folksy article in GQ about life on his ranch outside of Taos.
Phase Two was a verbal salvo during an interview on Fox News at MoveOn.org for its “General Betray Us” ad. Donald criticized moveon.org for criticizing General Petraeus, because he’s afraid that this uncivil war of words discourages public service.
During this same interview, Donald laid out Phase Three: the creation of the Rumsfeld Foundation. The left flank of this good-deeds offensive will provide micro-loans to the Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. Apparently, he feels he’s already done enough for Afghanistan and Iraq.
The right flank will provide research fellowships to graduate students for the purpose of encouraging public service. Never mind how much better the world would have been if Rumsfeld’s public service had been discouraged, just think of these two words on your resume: Rumsfeld Fellow. It would be like the D.C. equivalent of a Razzie Award.
As for whether Rumsfeld’s media surge strategy will win the battle and restore his reputation that is a known unknowable. But as you know, you go to a P.R. war with the credibility you have. And Rumsfeld lacks a sufficient number of troops.