The Latest from Robert NovakRobert Novak's latest column, A President All Alone, discusses Bush's distance - even isolation - from congressional Republicans, and their chagrin at ongoing revelations of Bush administration incompetence.
"We always have claimed that we were the party of better management," one House leader told me. "How can we claim that anymore?"
But the final paragraphs in the article is what really grabbed my attention.
A few Republicans blame incessant attacks from the new Democratic majority in Congress for that image [of endless incompetence]. Many more say today's problems in the administration derive from the continuing impact of yesterday's mistakes. The answer that is not entertained by the president's most severe GOP critics, even when not speaking for quotation, is that this is just the governing style of George W. Bush and will not change while he is in the Oval Office.I'm wondering who that anonymous source is for the quotation about Libby - as each official refracts a different experience of the President. Is this a close reflection? Or one with high built in distortion?
Regarding Libby and Gonzales, unofficial word from the White House is not reassuring. One credible source says the president will never -- not even on the way out of office in January 2009 -- pardon Libby. Another equally good source says the president will never ask Gonzales to resign. That exactly reverses the prevailing Republican opinion in Congress. Bush is alone.
We know that Novak is paleocon-ish; he definitely has a point of view on Bush in disagreeing with him on policy matters. Are his chosen sources representing this POV as well, or has disillusion become more widespread. Because the picture of Bush he is painting in the last paragraph is sure not a pretty one - it's very arrogant and self absorbed. As opposed to the picture of Bush of being overly loyal to the people who work for him.
It would reflect terribly on Bush, and would be disillusioning and disheartening both, if Tenet ends up with the Presidential Medal of Freedom - which he already has - while Libby ends up in jail.
What do we think?
At least we know that there will be a high burden of competence demanded from all candidates in the next election. And that burden will be met by a large number of them.