Friday, April 21, 2006

Is Harriet Next?

The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller and Jim Rutenberg suggest today that new White House Chief of State Josh Bolten may be planning to replace current WH Counsel and failed Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers. Citing an unnamed "influential Republican with close ties to Mr. Bolten," the dynamic Times duo report "Mr. Bolten had floated the idea among confidants, but that it was unclear whether he would follow through or if the move would be acceptable to Mr. Bush, who has a longtime personal bond with Ms. Miers."

Bolten apparently thinks Miers "is indecisive, a weak manager and slow in moving vital paperwork through the system," but, say Bumiller and Rutenberg, "It was not clear whether Mr. Bolten was floating a trial balloon to gauge White House reaction to the idea, or whether he might have been intending to send a signal to Ms. Miers that he would like her to think about leaving on her own."

"Moving Ms. Miers would be a strike at the heart of Mr. Bush's emotional bonds in the White House and would eliminate another Texan from the circle he has kept close to him in Washington. Republicans who talk regularly to senior West Wing advisers say the president has been unhappy and on edge about the staff changes that he nonetheless sees as necessary for revitalizing the West Wing." A 'strike at the heart of Mr. Bush's emotional bonds in the White House'? Somebody's been reading too many "Commander in Chief" scripts ...

A "senior White House official," also unnamed (I really wonder if these guys secretly keep all the clippings of the stories where they're "quoted-but-not-named" for their scrapbooks), denied that Bolten is considering sacking Ms. Miers.

Will any of these changes Bolten's making so far have a real impact on the way things in the White House operate? That, to this point, remains entirely up in the air. I'd like to think so, but given the learning curve of this Administration so far, I'm not entirely convinced it's even possible.


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