YES, IT’S A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT GAME THEY’RE PLAYING: SKBubba notes something that I had noticed — that the Bush Administration let news of Rumsfeld’s offer to resign after Abu Ghraib leak out now, when it was too late to help them before the election, and observes:

I thought that the Gonzales nomination was being offered up as a sacrificial lamb for Abu Ghraib to take the heat off of Bush and Rumsfeld and that his confirmation defeat would put an end to the whole sordid affair.

Now that he’s confirmed, and apparently nobody gives a damn, Rumsfeld comes out and takes responsibility. Go figure. Maybe he was Plan B? These guys are playing a level of 3-D Vulcan chess that I can’t even comprehend.

I think they’re playing the long game, not the short game. And here’s another example: the retroactive increase in death benefits paid to the families of servicepeople killed in action. They waited until after the election, when doing it sooner might have gotten them some votes. At a guess, I’d say that they want the troops to know it’s genuine, and not just political — and that’s why they waited.

Stephen Bainbridge notes that Michael Kinsley is confused, too. Well, if SKB is confused, I’d expect Kinsley to be flummoxed.