Thursday, October 27, 2005


Time for Some (White) House Cleaning

Bush adrift, Needs Major Administration Shake Up...

Soon after I wrote my long piece about how most of us here in DC are in a malaise from the continued blunders of the Bush Administration, I read this on Andrew Sullivan (See posting titled "What Bush Should Do"). And you know what, he's right.

Bush's second term started out with much fan fare. Supreme Court vacancies, tax reform, social security reform and other bold agenda items that were actually exciting and would probably benefit from a conservative approach. What we got is something altogether different. Ham handed handling of social security (calls for vague reforms, but no specific plan), One brilliant choice for the Court (John Roberts) and one potential goose egg (Miers..or Mires), and a tax reform proposal (bases on current reports) that looks as politically appetizing as the ham handed social security reform.

Then we had the surprises, Katrina, Rita and Wilma that have exposed the extent to which the billions spent on homeland security were wasted and the dangerously fine line between Bush's touted loyalty and just plain cronyism (And sadly, former FEMA director Brown is still on the government payroll).

Iraq too seems to be progressing along on (depending on your slant) an unsatisfactorily slow path or a bogged down mission without a clear end. Through in the Plame case and you've got an administration who at worst, lost control of itself or at best is adrift, lost in the bogs of ineptitude and scandal.

But Bush is supposed to be different, or so we are told. He's a plain spoken man of action and focus. As Sullivan suggests, he should do a major shake up. Dump Rummy, Rove, Libby, Cheney, Chertoff and a few others. It doesn't have to be an admission of anything, but rather a demonstration of a commitment to put things back on track. Critics (I think unfairly) say that Bush isn't the brains of the operation. That Cheney, Rove and Rummy actually run the show. Perhaps so, perhaps no. But Cheney's heavy involvement in the march to war and Rummy's plan to fight the war with inadequate resources are part of the problem. Rove's 'divide and conquer' political machinations seem to have run out of steam and are no longer effective. The Miers nomination has effectively divided congress, but within the GOP ranks, much to Ms. Miers detriment.

My silence or lack of enthusiasm over the last few weeks has been a manifestation of a deep malaise. More of the same from this bunch for the remainder of Bush's term is not just unacceptable, it's downright dangerous for what's left of the so-called conservative agenda. The prospect of a shake up is exciting because it renews the chance for possibility and vision. Absent that we'll see a continued drift and Bush looking more and more (as I've said before) like the Jimmy Carter of the GOP...a good man, but one in circumstances beyond his ability.

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