'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, April 20, 2006

President Bolten 

I found this amusing ... David Gergen talking to Anderson Cooper about the surprising development that Bush seems to have abdicated his authority to hire and fire cabinet level officials: (transcript here)

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: I find the story that has emerged from the White House today absolutely extraordinary, even bizarre. [... snip ... ]

Well, at -- at first, I thought they may have meant -- had one misstatement, in effect, that -- that -- that Scott McClellan maybe went a little far.

But, if you read the full story, it sounds like, no, they're really giving Josh Bolten a -- a hand in saying -- now, they're not saying he can name Rumsfeld's successor or to make that decision. But "The Times" is reporting and others reporting that he is going to -- the inner circle of the president, which includes Scott -- Josh -- Josh Bolten and the vice president, are going to be able to decide what happens to Don Rumsfeld.

I just -- I -- I think that they will find -- come to their senses and not allow this to happen. But the very idea that they're bringing in a chief of staff who's going to be given this kind of authority is, to me, astonishing.

I mean, let me -- let me put it another way, another piece of this, into place, Anderson, if I might. Ordinarily, the role of the chief of staff within the White House itself is to come to the president with recommendations for people who might serve in the White House.

The press secretary serves the president, not the chief of staff. The communications director serves the president, not the chief of staff. You serve at the pleasure of the president. And to give your chief of staff even the appointive hiring and firing capacity, and to say, it's up to you, Josh, you just figure out who's best, and I will go with it, to me, is an abdication of authority.

I just don't think the president wants to do that, and I just can't believe he will do it. So, I'm astonished by what they're saying.

[ ... snip ... ]

COOPER: Tough decisions for...

GERGEN: Tough...


COOPER: ... Josh Bolton to make.

GERGEN: Tough -- and tough decisions for Josh Bolton. But, last -- well, I don't know. Maybe President Bolton will have some fresh ideas.


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