Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Oil Connections: I think you're right that the Halliburton story may be off and running now. The fact that Waxman is ready to make a stink means that he sees some firm footing to the story. I think there may be some truth to the defense that Halliburton was the only firm that could field a unified team for a job so strewn with unknowns. That said, the fact that Iraq was taken so quickly and with so little oil-infrastructure damage should mean that bidding could open up quite soon. Any attempts by the administration to kick the bidding down the road some more will have to be taken as a gift to Cheney's old firm. On the other hand, there is a great deal of brainpower in the administration, no small part of it Cheney's. He knows he's vulnerable on this issue. He also knows that even the appearance of favoritism in contracting Halliburton will be a serious publicity problem, particularly considering that Cheney just re-upped as Bush's number two. I don't think the administration is dumb enough to step on such an obvious landmine. Then again, who thought Clinton would be dumb enough to get head from the help while being sued for harrassment? Or that Nixon would continue to record incriminating conversations in the high days of Watergate? Everyone has blind spots, and this may be Cheney's.

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