01 November 2008

Dick Cheney vs. Condoleezza Rice vs. Donald Rumsfeld vs. Alberto Gonzales vs. Michael Chertoff

As we are in the waning days of the George W. Bush administration, I thought it might be worth to have a look at some important, also at times controversial cabinet members.

Overall, Cheney had the highest Google-popularity. Then came Rice, Rumsfeld, Gonzales and Chertoff. When I looked a little closer though, Cheney's ranking had a lot to do first with the 2004 presidential election campaign and the February 2006 shooting incident—while hunting, he carelessly but accidentally shot an elderly friend in the face, neck and torso; the friend then apologized for the inconvenience... Rice's peaks fell in April 2004 (refusal and eventual testimony before the 9/11 Commission), November 2004 (presidential election) and February 2005. The latter peak is harder to explain. It might have had something to do with the State of the Union address and/or the subsequent withdrawal of North Korea from talks. Rumsfeld caught the attention of Googlers esp. in May 2004 and November 2006 (his forced resignation). The former peak may have been caused by the arguments before the US Supreme Court in the Hamdi v. Rumsfeld case about the constitutionality of the government's withholding due process of law from a US citizen. It is interesting to note that Gonzales' resignation in September 2007 did not lead to much extra Googling. His credibility had been suffering, caused by among other matters his disastrous July testimony about NSA domestic eavesdropping before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was then the subject of several attempts to pass no-confidence motions in Congress and eventually was forced to resign. In other words, maybe there's no peak because matters were stretched out over several months. Finally, Chertoff's most significant peak (January 2005) preceded his installation as Secretary of Homeland Security.

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