The Fake Shake-Up

Let's review something very basic about this 'shake-up'.

Donald Rumsfeld - still in place
Dick Cheney - still in place
Steven Hadley - still in place
Karl Rove - still in place

This part of a Dan Balz article says it best.

Presidents, more than chiefs of staff, determine how White Houses operate, they said, noting that Bush has shown that he prefers a tight circle of advisers and does not welcome the advice of outsiders. As Bush put it on Monday, in asserting that he would not fire Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, "I'm the decider, and I decide what's best."

Tim Russert had an important nugget yesterday, when a source told him why Bush wouldn't fire Rumsfeld.  Bush, his source says, "won't fire Rumsfeld because it would be the equivalent of firing himself."

Bush has a very good campaign mind, but as President he is completely paralyzed by his arrogance, fear, and personal weakness.  He likes feeling like he makes big decisions and has 'the vision thing' (as another Bush once put it), so power rests with infighting advisors who tell him what to do in the guise of 'taking care of the details'.  All problems are ascribed to as ones of 'communications' as the AM talk radio circuit has been spewing for months, which allows blame to go to the communications staff instead of those with the real power.  That's why Scott and Card don't matter; Scott is a press release shaped like a human (nothing really changed when Ari Fleischer left), while Card was a glorified office manager.  The Rove 'demotion' is in all likelihood a sham, since he's kept his security clearance and is gearing up for the midterms.  The only serious member of the White House to leave is actually Scooter Libby, and that wasn't Bush's doing.

This is an awful situation.  We have a man frightened to be President clinging desperately to the comforting adults who tell him what to do.  These 'adults' happen to be vicious ideologues bent showing the world their manliness no matter how weak they transparently are.  In other words, this isn't a real shake-up, because at this point Bush can't shake up the White House staff.  

It reminds me of a punch-drunk boxer, who is standing because his legs are working and who won't go down because the connection between his legs and his brain is temporarily gone.  It's an extremely dangerous situation for the world right now, with the 'fake shake-up' as PR gloss for what really is rearranging deck chairs on the Titannic.  

Now, to be clear, a shake-up can happen, but it won't happen until November, 2006.  That's when the American people can pick new leadership in Congress and force this weakened Presidency to change course.

Tags: Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush, Media, Steven Hadley (all tags)

Comments

7 Comments

Re: The Fake Shake-Up

Yup, it was frightfully obvious Rummy wasn't going anywhere after Abu Ghraib broke.
Nor Rove after, well, being there at all.
Dark Lord Cheney would have to fire himsef.

It be like an octopus shedding arms.

(sorry, that's really offensive to octopus)

by Ozzie 2006-04-20 07:30AM | 0 recs
Re: The Fake Shake-Up

another point to consider:

has this administration become so toxic that no one with genuine ideas for change is willing to risk their reputation by joining the keystones kops, especially if they believe they'll only serve as window dressing?

it may not just be a matter of bush being unwilling to discard his loyalists but also a matter of bush being unable to replace them with anyone better, especially at this late date.

without being privy to bush's list of candidates, it's of course impossible to evaluate the potential for meaningful policy change, but i find the question of how much meat is in the stew a worthwhile one.

by truth hurts 2006-04-20 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: The Fake Shake-Up

it's closer to a shakedown than a shake-up

by big in japan 2006-04-20 08:01AM | 0 recs
Re: The Fake Shake-Up

force this weakened Presidency to change course

Preferably directly into a Texas prison.

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-04-20 08:06AM | 0 recs
Re: The Fake Shake-Up

Absolutely! The MSM seems to be giving the impression that it's surprising to see Karl Rove has been removed from his policy advisor position. Nonetheless, there is little doubt as to the meaning of Rove's role change. Frankly, given the shambles of a policy plan being run by this administration, together with the unlikelihood that any new legislation of significance can be passed in the run-up to the mid-term election, the calculation was that Rove could better serve the Republican Party in full campaign mode.

Truthfully, why use Rove as a policy advisor when his real talent is as a political strategist (hack). The White House is simply acknowledging this well-known fact. Additionally, Republicans realize that standing on ceremony and titles won't win the upcoming elections. The change is simply about expediency. While I enjoy thinking he's getting a bit of a spanking, I don't buy it.

Bush is trying to demonstrate to Republicans up for reelection that he has their backs and is moving to help get them reelected...and how better to demonstrate that than getting Karl Rove focused on a strategy for the Party. The architect hasn't been cast aside as a lowly carpenter...he's being asked to build something out of nothing...and he's pretty darn good at that.

more observations here:

www.thoughttheater.com

by Daniel DiRito 2006-04-20 08:23AM | 0 recs
On CNN thy called it musical chairs

by MNPundit 2006-04-20 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: The Fake Shake-Up

Everything you say is true, but you give much too much credit to Bush by making it appear that he's simply a puppet for his advisors.  That may be the case to some extent, but the puppeteers can't make their dummy do anything he wasn't inclined to do in the first place.  He's dangerous because he's weak and he's stupid and he's in power, but like many weak and stupid people he believes what he believes and can't be made to believe anything differently, because he knows it's the truth.  

If there was a true shake up, with new people coming in, Bush's policies afterwards would look very much like his policies before it, because his policies actually do reflect what he wants to do.

So a Democratic take-over of one of the Houses of Congress would be extremely unlikely to "force" Bush to change his course -- he'd still try to do what he wants to do.  What can be done until we re-take the White House is to more effectively block his intentions, and perhaps do some minor clipping, nipping and tucking around the edges of policy, but no Democratic legislative body is going to tell George W. Bush what to do, that's for damn sure.

by Ed Fitzgerald 2006-04-21 10:28PM | 0 recs

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