Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Shooting the messenger

Josh Marshall sees this piece from the New York Times as an indication that the, "Knives are out for Andy Card." Though the President's Chief of Staff does come in for some criticism, it doesn't seem that Card's work is the real focus. The followers were plenty happy with him back before Katrina, but now that the tide has turned for the President, his administration and the Republican Party at large...
His office oversaw the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, coordinating federal assistance that was broadly condemned as too slow. Mr. Card personally managed the selection of Harriet E. Miers for the Supreme Court, a choice that has splintered the Republican Party and left the administration scrambling to rescue her nomination.

The confluence of crises, all running through Mr. Card's suite just steps from the Oval Office, has some critics asking whether he needs to clean house or assert himself more forcefully - or at least consider a course correction before Mr. Bush is downgraded permanently to lame duck status.

"He's always been - weaker is not quite fair, but he's always been a less powerful chief of staff than we're used to," Mr. Kristol said. "It worked well for a while. It seemed he was good at coordinating Karl and the vice president and Josh Bolten and Condi. And, again, to give him credit, in the first term things went pretty well, you have to say. So I don't really put the blame on Andy; he's doing what he's always done."
In fact, it would seem that the critics are taking out there anger at the President on Card. While the chief of staff has a duty to reign in the President if he is about to make bad decisions, he is, in the end, only the advisor. The President ultimately makes the decision.
"The lesson of both Katrina and Miers is that the system of decision making in the White House no longer meets the needs of the president," said David Frum, a former speechwriter for Mr. Bush who has been critical of the Miers choice.

Critics "could perhaps hold Andy accountable for not saying, 'Mr. President, this is going to be a mistake,' " said William Kristol, the conservative commentator and another vocal critic of the Miers nomination.
The anger that shook the Republican party following Katrina and the Miers nomination seems to have found a vent. Not at the President, but at his COS. Yet both the Katrina breakdown and the Miers debacle seem in keeping with the President's management style. Unsure steps in a time of crisis and the appointment of friends to positions of influence they are not qualified to handle.

I get the impression that the concept of, "Let Bush be Bush," doesn't go over well with the base. It would seem they only saw him as a figurehead after all

- Murphy

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