Skip to comments.Novak: Karl Rove Supreme
Posted on 03/29/2006 10:28:14 PM PST by RWR8189
WASHINGTON -- Everybody in Washington's Republican political community was well aware that any changes George W. Bush made in his White House staff would not constitute a shake-up. What nobody expected was that Josh Bolten, in essence a professional bureaucrat, would be promoted to chief of staff. Yet, this selection becomes understandable as a confirmation of Karl Rove's supremacy in the White House.
Rove holds the mundane titles of senior adviser to the president and deputy chief of staff, but scarcely anything happens in the Bush administration without his approval. Now he is more influential than ever. Andrew Card, the departing chief of staff, served (as a Cabinet member) under the senior President Bush (as Rove did not). In contrast, Bolten can thank his rise in the second Bush regime to Rove, his nominal subordinate.
I talked to former White House staffers who served Republican presidents over the last quarter of a century. To a man, they were appalled that President Bush had squandered the opportunity handed him when a burned-out Card told him he must resign. It was the time, they agreed, to emulate what President Ronald Reagan did in 1987 when his national approval rating dropped below 40 percent and he brought a new team to the White House: Howard Baker, Kenneth Duberstein, Frank Carlucci and Colin Powell. By not emulating Reagan's boldness, Bush failed to address the unhappy state of his administration and his party.
Throughout his governmental career in Washington and Sacramento, Reagan never was hesitant to drop overboard aides who had become part of the problem. The belief in Republican circles is that Bush is unable to change the guard at the White House because that would tacitly admit something is wrong with the way he governs, and the president cannot do that.
Into his sixth year as president, Bush has preferred to promote from within -- a tendency that has brought third-level aides to the top of White House sections. Although this practice has produced staff mediocrity, nobody questions Bolten's intelligence and competency.
While Card forced himself to work 16- or 17-hour days, Bolten is a natural workaholic who as a bachelor seemed on the job continuously as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He is more attuned to issues than Card and gets along better with Congress, especially Speaker Dennis Hastert. Bolten stayed overtime at this year's House Republican retreat in Cambridge, Md., to chat with members of Congress.
But Bolten replacing Card also advances Rove's project, which was obvious as early as the mid-'90s, of removing the influence of people close to the elder Bush. Rove named Bolten, who then was working for Goldman Sachs in London, as the Austin-based policy director of the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. There is no question that Bolten is a Rove man.
Bolten's promotion does improve the professional quality of the president's chief of staff, but Republicans fear the worst about his successor at OMB. If Bush follows his usual pattern and promotes from within according to the present pecking order, the new OMB director will be the agency's current deputy, Clay Johnson. A Dallas businessman who was Gov. Bush's aide in Austin and was the administration's personnel director in Washington, Johnson has won few admirers. I found widespread hope but little optimism that he would be overlooked for the OMB post.
A dysfunctional OMB director is the last result the president needs in a White House filled with problems. The absence of a Cabinet secretary coordinating the departments with the president is an inexplicable and unnecessary shortcoming. Lesser staff positions remain unfilled, which may explain the ruinous hours that senior aides are forced to keep.
Prior to Tuesday's surprise announcement of Bolten-for-Card, a Republican parlor game was trying to guess the 21st-century counterparts of Howard Baker & Co. named by Reagan in 1987 to save his presidency. It is not an easy task to come up with good names, but it is highly unlikely that Bush and Rove made such a search. Their implicit message is that no shake-up is needed because they had nothing to do with the parlous condition of the administration and the Republican Party.
Since Novak left CNN and is now on FNC, I'm reminded of one reason I stopped watching CNN.
-- "nobody questions Bolten's intelligence and competency."
-- "He is more attuned to issues than Card and gets along better with Congress"
-- "Bolten's promotion does improve the professional quality of the president's chief of staff"
Sounds like a good choice.
Shut up Novak you old goat
You just jealous that nobody pay attention to you SHUT UP
Can we get Robert Novak go on hunting trip with Dick Cheney OH Pretty please with sugar on top LOL!
The guy has been around for a long time and has seen all the errors, including many that Reagan committed.
Novak has a seasoned historical perspective that should be considered. I said considered, not cowtowed to.
Only fools are FULL of themselves, and there is no question that the Bush White House has been fumbling a few footballs during the last 12 months.
Renewal for the final ride is smart, wise and way overdue.
It's still all about the War on Terror and Iraq....
Novak must be a FREEPERn
We have heard so many times that this president values loyalty (both ways). Regardless whether it's a good trait or not, I think this explains more than what the 'Republican circles' asserted.
It strikes me that the second and third tiers of White House staffers are the farm team for the next GOP administration. Their ranks oughtn't to be thin. I hope people with Iraq experience (both in and out of the military) are being recruited into public service in the Administration and elsewhere.
oh Karl you devil you.
~ post of the day ~
Novak was on John Gibson's show yesterday. As soon as his jowly face came on displaying a smirk (over Gibson's patronizing introduction) I turned off the TV. Fox did itself no favor by picking him up after he walked off CNN.
His one "All Star" appearence was a disaster, and Brit actually admitted they received many complaints. snags is a dim, and a reid-styled dim at that!
Ok gang pop quiz: Who is wrong more no-facts or little dick morris?
Having no-facts on is cruel. It's like going down to the town's home for loonies and making fun of one of the inmates.
I'm sure he'll be around awhile on Fox (contract). However, I don't see him that much and I wouldn't be surprised if they only trot him out to meet contractural necessity.
Hey Novak! Tell us something interesting, like who gave up you Valerie Plame's CIA cover. ha,ha,ha.
This is all inside baseball stuff. A staff shake up is not going to change the Bush Presidency.
I do not get to watch FOX during the day but I have yet to see Novak on at all. I sis not know he made an appearance on the All Stars. What did Brit say about the criticism?
I saw his appearance on the "All Stars" and wasn't impressed. However I'm not aware of Brit's later remarks and will have to defer to LibLieSlayer for that.
I agree, yesterday's appearance on Gibson's show was the first I've seen him. I don't watch Fox all the time during the day but tune in periodically. He's been like the 'non-talking head' there. Just as well as far as I'm concerned.
My treatment of him when he was on (the TV went off) isn't unusual for me. I treat all the Dimocrat talking heads the same. For that same reason I won't watch Fox News Watch on Saturday, or Fox & Friends Weekend (because of Julian Phillips). I can always find something more intelligent to do.
Brit said something to the effect, "Having Bob appear as one of the Conservative panelists didn't work out too well. We received a lot of email on the issue."
You wouldn't think that the President's men would have to work 16-hr. days to come up with his 36% approval rating. If they all went home after 8-hrs., no one would notice.
Silk purse/sow's ear adage holds true again.
What a disappointment you are, Novak.
A few years ago, I enjoyed Novak's commentaries but he seems to have lost the touch. Sad to see the male counterpart of Peggy Noonan trying to regain credibility like this. "All glory is fleeting" and they should try to get over it.
Why all this bitching about Novak? Is anything he says wrong?
Some people here would rather shoot the messenger than admit that the administration is flailing and is in serious danger of joining Clinton at the bottom of the rankings after 2009.
Yes, I think almost all of what he says is wrong. But then, that's my opinion about his opinion. Novak's unsourced speculation about "what is really happening" is as tiresome as all the other opinions from inside the beltway talking heads. They really aren't much different than the Hollywood celebrity chasers who make a living babbling on about who is going to get the next divorce or adopt the next Cambodian baby. Gossip is gossip. And none of it is worth much.
It's possible everybody writing about Card resigning is missing a bigger point: Card isn't burned out, he's going to head Romney's presidential campaign.
Does this mean Rove and Bush are going to try to block McCain?
I find it both plausible and interesting that Rove has finally ousted Card and is now King of the Hill in the White House.
I've always like Bolten, very competent and comes across well on television too. He's never seemed like the kind of guy you make chief of staff.
I don't see it.
The media is playing the GOP fracture over immigration and spending much bigger than it is. Even conservative columnists like Novak need to sell themselves, and the elections, to keep interest high and stroke their own egos. The fact is things look very good for the GOP in 2006, regardless of the media sponsored polls designed to sell papers. The fact that the polls aren't helping sell papers should be an indication of their effectiveness.
The polls are the only real indicator of voter dissatisfaction because the actual election show strong support for the GOP. Polls are only as good as the questions asked. They are even less informative when the results are predesigned. Dubya's job approval says nothing about who people will vote for in a midterm election and generic polls about parties mean little when people love their own Congressman but hate everyone else's Congressman. Media polls don't reflect the American opinion of the junk media or the rat party in general. I think Americans have a much lower opinion of the old media today, and I'm not sure media polls have ever been successful in shaping voter opinion. The polls in 72 convinced Nixon, or his minions, to bug the DNC, yet Nixon won by a landslide. I already mentioned the Republican take over of the Senate in 86 even though Reagan's job approval dropped to 46% just before the election. Jumpin' Jehoshaphat the exit polls in 2000 and 2004 were wrong on election day.
Here are the facts. We can't lose the House because of Gerrymandering until 2012. The rats have more seats up for re-election in the Senate. The economy is great. Unemployment is low.
Republicans can point toward a record of tax cuts, judges, and the WOT for their base. Moderates will be shown education and medicare reform, and the WOT, but the rats have no issue to run on except "let's impeach the President."
Not only that, but the rats are fighting a losing battle. The country is getting more conservative with every liberal mom's abortion. They are the fracturing party. The union voters, and black voters want protection of marriage, protection of guns, or school choice. Teachers want homo adoption and protection from their students. The rats are a coalition of anti-Bushs. They can't hold that coalition in midterm election when Bush ain't on the ticket.
The GOP base will stay with the GOP because there is no place else to go and because it is the only sane thing to do. It makes absolutely no sense to punish Dubya by electing rats.
I doubt the 06 elections will be a referendum on Dubya...
but if it is,
the White House has refused to pass the buck to Congress for sending him bloated budgets, even though Congressmen, like Mike Pence, point their finger at Dubya for signing the budgets sent to him by Congress. And if Dubya is the issue in 06, gigantic federal spending, at a rate faster than Dubya's, didn't hurt Reagan's 2nd midterm in 86...in fact we took back the Senate that year.
I think of voting in terms of a father with 2 brothers to babysit my child. The rat brother smokes dope and jerks off in the sink, and the Republican brother spends irresponsibly, but he lowered the allowance I have to pay him. I will be entrusting one of these brothers with my child's future and I've seen the Republican brother in a fight with the Taliban and Saddam. The rat brother only fights with the Republican.
I might admit that Dubya and the GOP have been ineffective on some issues, but the rats are complete f*** ups! How could any conservative let that happen after 8 years of Clinton? AWB, don't ask don't tell, Ellian Gonzales, Waco, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, First Lady Hillary, Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers for cash, Chinese tech transfers for cash, Vince Foster, and Ron Brown. The GOP base may be grumbling now but they will be shown the effectiveness of a conservative SCOTUS in reversing liberalism in the coming months, Saddam will soon be executed, and the base will hold their nose and pull the GOP lever again. in 2006.
He will push for a bill because the problem needs to be addressed.
Although President Bushs approval ratings continue to slide in national polls, his support among Republican voters remains strong, with 80% of Republican voters approving of his job performance, and 84% expressing a strongly or somewhat favorable opinion of him. Evangelicals report an 85% approval rating of Bush, and 89% have a favorable opinion of the president.