Thursday, March 16, 2006

Latest dispatch from inside the Bush bubble

At the White House yesterday, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan was asked whether the Bush administration might consider it wise, at this point, to shake up the team a bit and bring in some new blood -- in other words, to do the kind of thing that presidents generally do, especially when they are winning plaudits from only 33 percent of the American people (see the latest Pew poll, which I linked yesterday).
McClellan took great umbrage at that such an impertinent suggestion: " There's a perception out there on the part of the American people that Washington tends to get caught up in a lot of this parlor game, and they tend to get caught up in all this babble, process-oriented stuff. I think the American people want us to stay focused on their priorities."
Well, the source of that impertinent suggestion, the source of that "babble," was none other than Norm Coleman, the Republican senator from Minnesota, who had been personally recruited by President Bush to run for the Senate seat in 2002. Coleman had told the Associated Press yesterday that the White House had a political "tin ear," and that a shakeup might be wise.
But still no changes are contemplated, even though one-time Bush titans continue to get dissed by people who normally defend the administration. Witness David Brooks, the conservative commentator, who this morning described Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld thusly: "a formerly intimidating figure who now just seems pathetic."
Rumsfeld, by the way, told Congress the other day that his war-gamers are now busy scenarioizing about the theoretical paremeters of a possibly future civil war in Iraq -- a war that does not now exist, he quickly added, because nothing is happening that mirrors the severity of the American civil war.
Just wondering: since Rumsfeld isn't going anywhere, will the American experience be his sole frame of reference for Iraq?