More Rumsfeld’s Rules

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page of Jan. 29 published “Rumsfeld’s Rules,” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s much-discussed compilation of “rules, reflections and quotations” about how to run your government, your corporation, or your weekly bridge game. These gems of white-collar folk wisdom include “If in doubt, don’t,” “Know your customers,” and the oft-quoted “Don’t accept the [White House] post or stay unless you have an understanding with the president that you’re free to tell him what you think ‘with the bark off’ and you have the courage to do it.” Unfortunately, due to a printer’s error, the Journal omitted several Rumsfeld Rules from its compilation. As a public service, Chatterbox publishes them here:

  • Present yourself to the world as a truth-telling SOB.
  • Flatter the president that he has appointed a truth-telling SOB, but for Christ’s sake don’t say anything that will upset him.
  • Never utter the phrase “for Christ’s sake” in public.
  • Never answer your own telephone. It might be a telemarketer.
  • If you do happen to pick up the phone, pinch your nose between your thumb and middle finger and say in a high-pitched voice, “This is Bister Rubsfeld’s secretary. Whob shall I say is callig?”
  • He who hesitates is lost.
  • Look before you leap.
  • If your clichés conflict, staff it out.
  • It’s not the heat, it’s that dew point.
  • It’s not the cold, it’s that wind-chill.
  • Never mix, never worry.
  • They often call me Speedo but my real name is Mr. Earl.
  • “But that was in another country; and besides, the wench is dead.”–Christopher Marlowe
  • “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”–Author Unknown
  • If Richard Nixon says to you, about black people ,”Most of them are basically just out of the trees,” and then goes on to babble something about how “even the southerners say, ‘Well, our niggers is [unintelligible].’ Hell, that’s the way they talk,” try to say as little as possible in response.
  • If you get asked about this incident 30 years later, try to say as little as possible in response.