Tuesday, April 25, 2006

LA Times Editorial: Cheney Should Go…

Bush's third term
April 23, 2006

IF PRESIDENT BUSH HOPES the "shake-up" of his administration initiated last week will re-energize his listless presidency, he's bound to be disappointed. A far more audacious makeover is needed — one that sends Vice President Dick Cheney into early retirement.

Second terms are notoriously difficult for presidents. For President Bush, it has been disastrous. His swaggering November 2004 news conference — at which he bragged "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it" — seems from another era. Whatever political capital existed he has squandered with the Iraq war, the Valerie Plame leak inquiry and his ill-advised plan to partly privatize Social Security. His one victory — getting two reliable conservative jurists on the U.S. Supreme Court — is no doubt an enduring one. But there's nothing else.

Hence the yearning for a fresh start, the illusion of a third term. Ronald Reagan, another president hobbled by a second-term scandal, did manage to jump-start his presidency in its last years by bringing new players into his inner circle and engaging in ambitious arms-reduction talks with the Soviets.

Alas, Bush doesn't seem inclined to be that bold. The president has named a new chief of staff and budget director, but this is a merely a case of old loyalists getting new titles. The White House also sent much-pummeled press secretary Scott McClellan packing and, in what seems more like truth in packaging than a real change, relieved arch-political operator Karl Rove of his responsibilities for domestic policy.

It's expected that other heads will soon roll from the Cabinet Room — but not that of seemingly fireproof Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The ax is rumored to fall on Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, considered a lackluster evangelist for the president's economic policies....