Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Media Buys White House Spin That Bolten Is "Creative" and "Direct," Not "Tired" And "Insular"

If you read the stories on President Bush's decision today to replace resigning White House Chief of Staff Andy Card with Budget Director Joshua Bolten, you'd think running the government was as easy as selling soap.

"Bush ... gave Bolten authority to make further changes in a White House staff that even Republicans have complained is tired, insular and lacking fresh ideas," the Associated Press offered.

But rather than turn to an outsider -- as many Republicans sought -- Bush went in-house. Bolten has been with the administration since its beginning, spending two years as a deputy to Card, and three heading the Office of Management of Budget. If the White House tries to spin that Bolten isn't as "tired" as others who have been in Bush's White House since 2000, should we assume that's because he hasn't worked as hard?

But how about his other attributes.

"Josh is a creative policy thinker," Bush said in introducing Bolten. "He's a man of candor and humor and directness, who's comfortable with responsibility and knows how to lead."

Yet, Bolten wasn't able to "creatively" manage the budget, which grew from $6.59 trillion when he took over OMB in June, 2003, to $8.36 trillion. The debt grew so quickly with Bolten at the helm that the White House had to ask Congress to raise its debt ceiling two out of three years.

If he was more creative, maybe Bolten would have come up with a Luntzian term to describe our out-of-control debt. Something like the "Healthy Budget Initiative" or "Responsible Spending For A New America."

Or, following Bush's lead, he could have called for a "War On Federal Debt."

What about Bolten's "directness?" Bolten twice tried to impose a funding cap on the federal transportation bill (at $256 billion in 2004 and $283.9 billion in 2005.) Congress came up with $286.5 billion in its legislation. When Bolten asked Bush to back up his cap with a veto, Bush said no, giving the go-ahead to one of the most pork-laden pieces of legislation in the history of the country.

Let's face it. No matter how creative or direct a White House Chief of Staff is, it only matters if the man in charge reacts appropriately.

Card, you might remember, was the one who whispered to Bush on Sept. 11, 2001: "The nation is under attack." Bush, you might remember, sat in a Florida classroom for seven minutes, doing nothing.

Amazingly, in the coverage today of Card's resignation, very few print media remembered that piece of history. (Television coverage was more likely to show a clip from the movie Farenheit 9/11.)

Maybe the White House press corps has become too "tired" and "insular," too.


Blogger davegribbel57020655 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:50 AM  
Anonymous C_U_L8R said...

"Hey Bolten... go get your shinebox"
Chimpies got a brand new errand boy

10:24 AM  
Anonymous skooooo said...

This has been mentioned over and over..

....on MSNBC. How long were you watching the news before you decided they were avoiding this?

10:26 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

the link is to the print press. it shows that no newspapers or magazines, or significant blogs, made the reference.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous JeffR said...

Since the Dictator-Tot didn't take Card's heads-up seriously
The MSM is naturally following suit.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous babylonsister said...

How 'bout his role in Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina?
How about inept and clueless?

10:29 AM  
Anonymous shain from kane said...

But they didn't show the clip of Card grabbing Bush and pulling him out of the classroom and kicking his ass up and down the hallway and telling him to do his job.

Oh, that's right. It never happened.

10:29 AM  
Anonymous SpiralHawk said...

Bush actually farted around for a good 1/2 hour in that classroom.

Check it out.

He was scared shitless, and had no freakin clue what to do.

On 9/11 Bush was AWOL. Again.

10:30 AM  
Anonymous KurtNYC said...

"lacking fresh ideas" = lacking fresh BAD ideas

and the headline implies that the MSM is not a lapdog of this Admin. Perhaps a more accurate title would be "Media SELLS WH spin on Bolton."

11:23 AM  
Anonymous KurtNYC said...

Many of my friends are still "waiting for the media to do its job." I would contend that it isn't laziness or incompetence that keeps the media from covering the truth on a regular basis. They are owned and run by huge corporations and have a vested interest in selling wars, expensive healthcare, cheap labor, etc. I don't see it as a conspiracy so much as just shared interests and goals. So a journalist's job in that scenario is to sell the partyline for his corporate bosses. There is another thread (or two) going on *'s "off the record" meeting with a bunch of these journalists.

3:07 PM  

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