Tuesday, March 28, 2006
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My one post about the Card resignation
Over at washingtonpost.com, Dan Froomkin repeats today's conventional wisdom --- Bush's poll ratings and miscues on Katrina, Dubai, etc., forced him into this move. But this overlooks the deeper cause -- these jobs are just exhausting.
The hours are killer. In this administration at least, White House staffers only get in the news when they've screwed up. There's a reason why, prior to this administration, people had only served an average of two years in high-ranking positions. Time's Mike Allen points out that Card knew this as well:
A wily veteran of Massachusetts politics, Card has been predicting his own departure since Nov. 1, 2001, when he told a Boston audience, "The half-life for a chief of staff is two years... There are very few people who had the experience I am having that survived very long, and that is appropriate. There is no security. I will not vest in the pension system at the White House."What's amazing to me is not that Card has resigned -- it's that there are so many people who have been working at high levels in this administration for six years and show no signs of leaving.
That said, readers are invited to guess who will be the next high-ranking Bush official to leave.... my money would be on this guy.posted by Dan on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM
Thanks Dan for being the voice of sanity.
To my knowledge the Chief of Staff’s job is to be the President’s coordinator, administrator, and gatekeeper all rolled into one. This has to be enormously draining on someone, especially in times of war. Card is simply worn out.posted by: Chris Albon on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
Dan -- no comments on Iraq in general ? Things seem to have taken an ever worse turn there.posted by: erg on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
You're right about the exhaustion factor, but why is no one discussing the tension b/t Card and Rove, which was in the news back in the days of Harriet Miers.
Because it sure looked like one of them was going to be leaving the White House, & it wasn't going to be Rove.posted by: Anderson on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
Dan -- no comments on Iraq in general ? Things seem to have taken an ever worse turn there. --erg
Ah, C'mon erg. You're killin' the buzz.posted by: Mitchell Young on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
Gosh, what kind of name is Bolton?posted by: trostky on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
Gosh, what kind of name is Bolton?
The kind that isn't the guy's name who was appointed.
Bolton != Boltenposted by: David Nieporent on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
No doubt Card is exhausted. So is the staff, and they're making lots of mistakes, big (Katrina, Miers, ports) and small, like that last trip to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. It was designed to finesse the fact that no one remembered to request absentee ballots for Geo. & Laura. He had no news to announce about recovery. The trip only encouraged more coverage on a subject not to Bush's advantage.
It's been widely known that Card has been trying to find someone to take over from Snow for at least a year. Nobody wants the job. Bolten's deputy will take over at OMB. Bush doesn't want outsiders and reputable outsiders don't want titles without authority.
It's time to pass out crutches to the ducks. This administration is morally and physically exhausted. Not even capturing OBL can restore their prestige. If the Dems win either the House or the Senate, the WH will spend the rest of the term complying with subpoenas. And even if the GOP can hold those majorities this November, they can't protect the other Duke Cunninghams that are surfacing.posted by: Mark Paul on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
I'd like to read a coherent, unbiased, clinical analysis by a professional of what it means, in terms of a psychological pathology, that Bush doesn't like change and is only comfortable with close confidantes with deep ties. Saying Bush is super loyal etc is a bunch of nonesense and misses the point - as does saying Card's leaving was way overdue as if we're supposed to feel sorry for him when the real question is why was he there so long?
It's almost a cliche at this point to talk of Bush having psychological issues - but still, does he? Or is this ostensible loyality a symptom of machinations going on behind the scenes and him possibly not even being aware of them?posted by: saintsimon on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
Saintsimon--My understanding is that Bush's pathology is common to recovering addicts. Is it necessary to point out that his psychological handicap would not be so important if he actually knew something about foreign policy (his dad) or domestic policy (Clinton). Nixon was actually far more disturbed, but even leaving office as he did, he left a more positive record than Bush.
His successors will spend the next 20 years digging us out of his disasters.
What makes you think John Snow will be the next one leaving?posted by: pierre on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
What's amazing to me is not that Card has resigned -- it's that there are so many people who have been working at high levels in this administration for six years and show no signs of leaving.
Perhaps it's a sign of the amount of effort they're (not) putting in?
Josh Bolten and John Bolton, Wolfowitz replacing Wolfenshon at the World Bank. Either they're trying to confuse us, or they're getting these people mixed up too.posted by: Mike Schilling on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
Andrew Card has lated longer than all (but maybe one) WH Chiefs of Staff.
This has been widely reported and is known to everyone (but apparently Fromkin)
Theres a real Whitehouse shakeup for you!
Will Fromkin next dazzle us with an article exposing "the real reason" Cal Ripken Jr only lasted so long without missing a game?
What has happened to msm? Its pathetic.posted by: DavidH on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
Snow won't be leaving because he's never said a word one pinky-toe out of step with administration talking points. No, he hasn't proven to be the aggressive champion of policy, but what does that mean in the context of this group?posted by: jf on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
Andy Card says that "the half-life of a Chief-of-Staff is two years." If the average tenure of a CoS is two years, doesn't that mean that the half-life is actually one year. Another prominent Republican who doesn't care a whit about science.posted by: mrjauk on 03.28.06 at 08:45 PM [permalink]
Andy Card says that "the half-life of a Chief-of-Staff is two years." If the average tenure of a CoS is two years, doesn't that mean that the half-life is actually one year.
Well, no. I've only ever heard of half-life applied to exponential distributions. If Chief-of-Staffs fit an exponential distribution, it would mean that there'd be some probability he'd quit or be fired today. And if he doesn't, then the probability he leaves tomorrow is exactly the same as it was today, and if he doesn't leave tomorrow then the chance he leaves the next day is exactly the same, and so on.
I'd expect there'd be some chance he'd have to leave right away because the media guys dug up something on him that didn't get attention until after he had the job. And then if he survives that initial time he'd have smooth sailing for awhile, but the stresses would cumulatively wear him down so the chance he resigns tomorrow would be bigger than the chance he resigns today, and the chance he makes some mistake to get fired over would be bigger tomorrow, and the chance the president wants to get a new face in there would get bigger, and so on.
But anyway if it was an exponential distribution with a half-life of 2 years then the average wouldn't be one year. I worked it quickly and got 2/ ln 2. This might be wrong, it wasn't worth double-checking since nobody really cares.
It wasn't accurate to call it a half-life in the first place, and then you made a math error calling him on it. And I might easily have made one. Let's just call it a figure of speech and drop the whole thing.
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