Andy Card Is Free!

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Bush Administration

Card is resigning, effective April 14. The new chief of staff will be Joshua B. Bolten, currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget.

I’m glad that Andy Card is gettin’ off the plantation before he drops dead. According to the WaPo story linked above, Card has been asking to be let go since earlier this month. I guess he finally talked Massa into it.

About Josh Bolten — Chris Suellentrop wrote this in Slate in November 2001 —

Josh Bolten is the White House’s deputy chief of staff for policy. That makes him the president’s chief domestic policy adviser, and since Sept. 11 he has headed the White House’s new “domestic consequences group” that has developed post-attack legislation such as the airline bailout and the stimulus package. The New Republic‘s Ryan Lizza calls him “increasingly powerful” and “the anonymous fourth man in the inner circle of Bush’s staff” (after Andy Card, Karl Rove, and Karen Hughes). U.S. News says he has emerged after the terrorist attacks as Bush’s “chief economic architect,” and the Washington Post says Bolten “has a quiet hand in all domestic policy and international economic policy.”

During the 2000 campaign, Bolten was Bush’s policy director, and during the Florida recount he was a top lieutenant to James Baker. He worked as a lawyer in the Reagan administration’s State Department, and he served as a staff attorney for the Senate Finance Committee from 1985 to 1989. In the first Bush administration, he worked as general counsel for the U.S. trade representative and as the White House’s deputy assistant for legislative affairs.

He’s a long-time Bush operative, in other words.

More from Christy Hardin Smith at firedoglake. There are reports that Andy submitted his resignation three weeks ago, but Bush didn’t accept it until this weekend, when Card threatened to dance around buck naked on top of the Lincoln memorial screaming IMPEACH BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

OK, I made that last part up. However, one of the terms of Andy’s retirement is that he has to allow the Bushies to be keep one of his kids hostage in the White House basement (along with John McCain’s favorite uncle) as insurance that Andy won’t talk.

Josh Bolten, CHS says, has been with Bush since Texas and is a close friend of Karl Rove.

There is speculation that Card’s resignation may be the beginning of other staff changes. I’m saying probably not. My reading of the situation is that this resignation was Card’s idea — it is widely reported that he is beyond burned out. Bolten was already a long-time Bush team member, so his presence in the White House won’t pierce the bubble. In a few weeks it will be remarked that no one can tell any difference in how the White House operates. Because there won’t be.

Update: See Stirling Newberry.

Update update:
More from Dan Froomkin:

Sacrificing Andy Card, his longtime chief of staff, is President Bush’s way of responding to the growing complaints about the administration’s competence.

The botched response to Hurricane Katrina, the deteriorating situation in Iraq, the rocky relations with the Republican Congress — all of these are seen at least in part as failures of execution. And execution is the chief of staff’s job.

But Card’s departure in no way addresses the two even more fundamental areas where Bush is vulnerable: His decisions and his credibility.

In most White Houses, the chief of staff is a godlike figure, putting his stamp on the presidency in almost every conceivable way. But in the Bush White House, political guru Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney loom much larger and have way more to do with what the president says and does than Card ever did. As long as they stay put, the rest may largely be window dressing.

Card was extremely popular with his staff and oversaw the most buttoned-down, leak-proof, on-time, on-message White House in history. But he was not a big influence on Bush. He was more like Bush’s nanny.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. azportsider  •  Mar 28, 2006 @12:37 pm

    Three weeks, huh? Probably took that moron Bush three weeks to read the damned thing.

  2. Erin  •  Mar 28, 2006 @1:49 pm

    So my morning fluff TV watching was interrupted by this epic Special Report to inform me that Andy Card had resigned, and I made two observations: 1. It was quite an extensive report given that even Tim Russert was like, “Yeah, Josh Bolten is already an insider.” So… nothing is changing, right? 2. The parade of experts (read: NBC’s “Washington correspondants”) all seemed to think a staff shake up was in the future. Given what I’ve read and what you’ve posted here, this seems unlikely, so I’m wondering where the talking heads got the idea that Bush might be changing things around. And it’s certainly not in Bush’s best interest to change up his staff.

  3. nlacey  •  Mar 28, 2006 @3:03 pm

    Let’s not forget that Bolton has overseen the largest deficit in US history in his present position and that he was instrumental in selling the big lie to Congress prior to the Medicare Part B vote based on false cost projections.

  4. Britwit  •  Mar 28, 2006 @3:08 pm

    I just saw on CNN that Bolton attended St. Albans as did Bush.

    He is into bowling and bikes. CNN also reported that he has been known to give bowling shoes as gifts and he also organized “Bikers For Bush” during either 2000 or 2004 elections. I mean Bikers as in Harleys.

    Speaking of bikes, I think that Andrew was tired of riding with Bush. Card did look tired on TV, didn’t he?!

  5. erinyes  •  Mar 28, 2006 @3:37 pm

    Brilliant!
    “We” are in a generational war against terrorism, and yet another key administration member quits to spend time with family !
    As tha old calypso tune tells us, “without foundation house cannot stand”, Bushco is crumbling.
    Bush/straight Jacket ’08.
    Ralph Nader has called for all good Americans to come foreward and Impeach the scroundrels. The time has arrived….

  6. Swami  •  Mar 28, 2006 @4:42 pm

    “We” are in a generational war against terrorism, and yet another key administration member quits to spend time with family !

    LOL…Yeah, summer soldiers. It doesn’t make sense..we’re surrounded by evil and the terrorists are pressing in from all sides, so Andy decides to jump ship. I guess it is Haaard.

  7. Britwit  •  Mar 30, 2006 @7:30 am

    Did anyone see Mary Matlin on The Today Show Wed.? She was talking about Bolton. She was saying that Bolton was “a good boy”. He’s 51 and she’s calling him a boy! She says that he takes his mother to all functions with him.

    He has never been married.



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