The Washington Post updates us this morning on the current thinking in the White House about changing Bush’s economic team. It looks like Snow will be out soon too:
Aides said changing four of the five top economic officials — including the Treasury and Commerce secretaries, with only budget director Joshua B. Bolten likely to remain — is part of Bush’s preparation for sending Congress an ambitious second-term domestic agenda… [T]he White House is now indicating it may move more quickly to convey a fresh start. Aides also said Bush is considering reaching beyond the kind of administration loyalists who will staff key national security posts in the second term.
…One senior administration official said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow can stay as long as he wants, provided it is not very long. He might stay as long as six months into the term, officials said. Friends say Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. is one possibility to replace him. Bolten also could move over.
But Republican officials said Bush is also considering well-known officials from outside, including New York Gov. George E. Pataki (R). Conservatives are pushing for former senator Phil Gramm, a Republican from Texas. Also under consideration is John J. Mack, who stepped down in June as co-chief executive of Credit Suisse Group. Mack has also been considered to lead a bipartisan commission on changing the tax system that Bush will appoint to develop recommendations for the Treasury secretary.
…Bush will almost certainly go outside the government for some substitutions for his economic team, which some Republicans viewed as a weak link during a campaign that was run on the president’s image and national security credentials.
…”They need people who have not been drinking the Kool-Aid and are going to come up here and say breathlessly, ‘This is what the president wants to do, and isn’t it great?’ ” the aide said. “They need someone like a former senator or former member or former governor who can come up here and say, ‘This is going to be hard. There’s going to be blood on the floor, but it’s going to be worth it.'”
“People who have not been drinking the Kool-Aid”? Can it be that even Bush’s own aides feel that they are members of a cult?