Columnists Review Immigration and Resignation
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
And we'll pick up on that question of further staff changes with two political analysts, columnist E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Welcome to you both.
DIONNE: Thank you.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Pleasure to be here.
BLOCK: There is speculation that presidential advisor Karl Rove could be one more to go. He's still under investigation for the leak of Valerie Plame's name. Charles Krauthammer, do you think that might happen?
KRAUTHAMMER: Well, despite the rumors, I don't have an inside pipeline, so I'm guessing like everyone else. There's been a suggestion that he might be moved to head the Republican National Committee, to help basically strategy for the campaign, so I think that would make sense. But I don't see the president doing that. I think Rove has been his political guru now for all these years, a proven success, two presidential elections, and even a midterm. I don't see him dropping him now.
BLOCK: E.J. Dionne, do you?
DIONNE: A Bush without Rove is like ham without eggs or Merrill without Lynch. It's hard to see it happening. I mean, Rove's future may, of course, hang on whether Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the Plame leak case, gets his indictment or not. It's hard to see Rove leaving, but it's clear that this one step with Andrew Card won't satisfy all the voices demanding somebody who's from the outside to shake things up. Josh Bolten's a very smart guy, but he is not in any way the outsider that might give a new perspective.
BLOCK: And does this leave unanswered the questions that we heard raised in David Greene's piece, low approval ratings, myriad problems, whether it has to do with the war in Iraq or any number of other things? Charles Krauthammer, do you think this is a partial solution?
KRAUTHAMMER: As for Republicans, who are worried about the election at the end of this year, yes, they'd like to see a few changes, but not really for the reasons you think. It's mostly so that the press will be distracted and spend the next three months learning about these new people and writing style section stories on them instead of reporting on the low polls.
BLOCK: E.J. Dionne?
DIONNE: But I don't think Bush's problems are about staffing. There are problems on the ground in Iraq, there are problems in New Orleans, and there's Bush's own problem with the steep loss of trust and confidence. And I don't think a staff shakeup can change that. It can only change the news stories for a while.
KRAUTHAMMER: I know it makes bad radio, but I agree entirely with that.
BLOCK: Let's talk first about the legacy of Caspar Weinberger. Charles Krauthammer, you first.
KRAUTHAMMER: But interestingly most of all was that the combination of those two worked in a way that ended up with the great success of the Reagan Administration, which was of course, the smashing of the Soviet empire and the Soviet Union.
BLOCK: There's also the legacy of Iran-Contra, E.J. Weinberger faced felony charges related to the cover-up for the arms for hostages deal. He was pardoned by the first President Bush just before he stood trial.
DIONNE: That is now inconceivable. If the President were say to pardon Scooter Libby, if anything ever, if that case, if that case ever came to a conviction, and so I think it's a sign of change, of real change in Washington. But boy that Weinberger doctrine of making sure you have overwhelming force before you fight a war looks pretty good in the light of what's happened in the last couple of years in Iraq.
BLOCK: And Lyn Nofziger, who died yesterday, Charles Krauthammer, what would you say his mark was as advisor to President Reagan?
KRAUTHAMMER: He was colorful, interesting, he had a reputation for always wearing a Mickey Mouse tie at the White House, a statement of sort, a kind of '80s statement, if you like. And he'll be missed.
BLOCK: E.J. Dionne, did he set a template for future Press Secretaries?
DIONNE: A Republican I know said this afternoon that Nofziger should not be underestimated as a figure. He took a man's vision, Reagan's vision, and turned it into practical politics. That's quite an achievement.
BLOCK: E.J. Dionne and Charles Krauthammer, good to talk with you both.
DIONNE: Good to be with you.
KRAUTHAMMER: A pleasure.
BLOCK: Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.
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