WHITE HOUSE SHAKE-UPAndrew Card
, longtime Bush Chief of Staff, has been forced to resign and is being replaced
by OMB Director Joshua B. Bolten
. If conservatives, Republicans and the nation at large are lucky, this move will only be the first of an injection of new blood for the Bush administration.
The resignation was hailed
at the big pro- Bush blog RedState,
which gets things completely wrong because everything there is viewed through the prism of short-term movement and partisan politics ( Hat Tip: Memeorandum
)"Andy Card has served the President well for more than five years. We cannot, however, say that he has served conservatives or the Republican party well. He is, among other things, fingered as the man behind the Harriet Miers nomination that caused a fracture in the base and emboldened conservatives to fight the President. He also deserves some blame for the mishandling of the Dubai Ports Deal. "
Well, yes. By the same token Card has been part of everything that has gone right with the Bush administration as well. He has been not only Bush's Chief of Staff and doorkeeper but virtually his shadow since taking office. Card's involvement in the White House decision-making process was integral even by the historical standards of chiefs of staff, so his legacy cannot be relegated to the outcome of one or two issues.
Andrew Card had to go because when an administration hits the skids - as nearly all of them do in the second term - in our system the president cannot resign but his designated " prime minister" must and usually this is all to the good. Sherman Adams, H.R. Haldeman, Don Regan, John Sununu and Mack McLarty all had to leave at a time when their president was under fire. Card has served longer than any of them except Sherman Adams and the effects of the grueling treadmill of a White House schedule take their toll. Creativity, energy and political judgment are sapped as crisis management stress, groupthink and isolation desensitizes and distorst the perceptions of even extraordinairly adept politicians.
Bolten does not need to do a purge or a complete housecleaning but new blood, new ideas and new perspectives are badly needed in the White House. Relationships need to be strategically rebuilt with Congress, the press and the American people so the Bush administration can catch a second wind.
The nation is at war. We cannot afford years of drift.