« NY Gov Race | The RCP Blog Home Page | Santorum on Iraq & Saddam Documents »

Bolten-o-Rama

For those who just can't get enough of the D.C. parlor game, here is a quick round up:

Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post says Card's resignation is evidence that "Bush is more often deferring to the expectations of Washington conventional wisdom." That sounds like a bit of stretch to me. Nevertheless, at the very end of the piece VandeHei also drops the news that "aides said more changes will come and that Bush is strongly considering adding one or two well-known Republicans to help soothe relations with Congress."

Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer characterizes the Card-Bolten switch as little more than a minor tweak: "There is no outsider element in this personnel shuffle." Polman rounds up a host of reactions, including a quote from John Hinderaker at Powerline.

David Sanger of the New York Times takes a similar angle, writing that Bush's move is "unlikely to satisfy calls within his own party for fresh thinking to address the administration's troubles."

Deborah Orin writes the New York Post: "Republicans have been fuming about White House fumbling in dealing with Congress and overall communications strategy, especially on Iraq. Bolten, meanwhile, has been skillful at dealing with Congress and has no press disasters on his watch."

Eli Lake in the New York Sun also writes an ominous first graph: "Conservatives are warning that President Bush's decision to bring in a new White House chief of staff won't be enough by itself to salvage an administration lagging in the polls." Grover Norquist gives the best quote on the White House's move (page 2): "Nobody with the possible exception of their wives will notice this change."

James Gerstenzang of the Los Angeles Times quotes a less than satisfied Trent Lott on the move: ""They still need men and women of stature and gravitas in a number of slots there in the White House. They need to bring in some experienced hands to get a handle on things." Gerstenzang also offers a pro-Bolten snip from former White House Congressional liason Nick Calio, who called Bolten "the logical and best choice" and also said that President Bush is not "particularly susceptible to calls that he needs to shake things up for the sake of shaking things up."

Lastly, Michael Kranish & Susan Milligan of the Boston Globe go even further with the "not enough of a change angle" by reporting the deep disappointment of beltway Democrats:

Some Democrats want the ouster of top Bush aides such as Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, an architect of the Iraq invasion, and deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, Bush's powerful political guru. Both men remain in their posts.

Democratic leaders said the president missed an opportunity to reinvigorate the White House, suggesting that Card -- who is popular and respected by Republicans and Democrats -- was not part of the problem.

''I have always found Andy Card to be reasonable, professional, and a man of his word," said Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois. ''If the White House is looking to change course, they picked the wrong person to toss overboard."

One thing is for sure, if President Bush stubbornly refused calls from members of his own party to make changes in his administration and eventually settled on swapping out Bolten for Card, he's certainly not going to pay any heed to calls from the D.C. chattering class (but especially Dick Durbin) to fire either Don Rumsfeld or Karl Rove.

UPDATE: Missed this one from John McKinnon and Jackie Calmes in The Wall Street Journal. It's essentially more of the same, best summed up by this quote from Vin Weber: "The biggest distinction between Josh and Andy is that Josh's job has been primarily a policy job for the last five years, while Andy has been focused on management and administration. That might mean some differences at the margin."