My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Not Completely Wrong

Fred Barnes put an interesting piece up at OJO Monday morning. The basic hypothesis: the rest of the Old Media is right and the Bush Team needs a major shakeup.

The president's most spectacular move would be to anoint a presidential successor. This would require Vice President Cheney to resign. His replacement? Condoleezza Rice, whom Mr. Bush regards highly. Her replacement? Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, whose Bush-like views on Iraq and the war on terror have made him a pariah in the Democratic caucus.

Mr. Cheney would probably be happy to step down and return to Wyoming. But it would make more sense for him to move to the Pentagon to replace Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary, a job Mr. Cheney held during the elder Bush's administration. The Senate confirmation hearing for Mr. Cheney alone would produce political fireworks and attract incredible attention. At Treasury, Mr. Bush has a perfect replacement for John Snow, someone he already knows. That's Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of Mr. Bush's council of economic advisers and currently dean of Columbia's business school. He is in sync with Mr. Bush ideologically and has the added value of being respected on Wall Street.

Yes, this surely would accomplish a shake-up; it would change the subject--dramatically; of course, the Press would re-spin the subject into GOP panic, and that could actually be worse than what we have right now. But, in reality, I don't think this would accomplish a darn thing. With the exception of the laughable political spectacl that a Cheney Confirmation Hearing would be, none of this seems to address the real problem. Barnes get to that later on:

The trickiest issue is how to handle Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff and political adviser. He is the closest thing to indispensable--on policy as well as politics--at the White House. But any overhaul that didn't involve him would run the risk of not being taken seriously. The solution is to send Mr. Rove to the Republican National Committee as chairman and bring the current chairman, Ken Mehlman, back to the president's staff as communications chief.

I would say that this actually is not the trickiest issue; for whatever reason, Rove seems to have lost his mojo. Could be because he's focused on the November elections, and those are difficult to guage right now, or it could be because he's been preoccupied with Patrick Fitzgerald.

But the REAL problem with the White House over the last eight months has been the message--the content, the face of it, the purpose of it. And the best solution to that problem is bringing Mehlmann back into the White House to be in charge of the message. THAT is a worthwhile suggestion.

And it also gives the press a lot less to imagine, which probably means fewer contributions to the White House Correspondent's Fiction Anthology, 2006. And that, my friends, is a good thing.

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