Thursday, March 16, 2006

Time for a Shakeup?

As Joe Gandelman comprehensively reports over at TMV, the rampant rumors of a White House staff shakeup are growing louder by the day. CBS News says former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker is trying to persuade CoS Andy Card to bring on former TN Senator Fred Thompson (currently better known as DA Arthur Branch on "Law & Order") as a "top advisor." CBS sources say that Baker's suggestion fell on deaf presidential ears.

ABC adds "Two Republican sources close to the White House have confirmed to ABC News that in recent days there has been talk of making staff additions to the Bush team to bring a steadying influence to the White House." CNN has basically the same story, also without using Baker's name.

Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) recently joined the calls for change, saying "I have some concerns about the team that's around the president. I think you need to take a look at it. ... For the good of the team, a line of fresh legs, or in this case, fresh political antenna, would better serve this president. ..."

Andy Card, the second-longest serving chief of staff in White House history, has got to be tired out. A recent Washington Post article points out that Card typically rises at 4:20 a.m. and often doesn't stop taking phone calls until after 11 p.m. - that's less sleep than I get, and I'm not helping run the country. He's been at that schedule since early 2001, and has got to be exhausted. CNN points out "Senior officials and friends of Card said Bush is reluctant to let him leave, saying he is concerned major changes would lead to a transition time they can't afford."

You know what, Mr. President? Transition time might be about the most affordable option right now. Your staff is worn out. They're not making good decisions, and you're letting their bad decisions be policy for the country. It is, indeed, time for a shakeup. I agree with Senator Baker that Fred Thompson would be the optimal choice - get some new faces, fall back and regroup. It may be too late to salvage your approval ratings, but let's stop the mistakes. This isn't "parlor games," as Scott McClellan put it - this is serious stuff. Get serious, Mr. President, and realize that loyalty stops meaning much when burnout overrides it.


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