Examining the White House staff shuffle.

Examining the White House staff shuffle.

Examining the White House staff shuffle.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
April 19 2006 5:40 PM

Spring Cleaning

Cyberspace is all over the resignation of Scott McClellan and the adjusted job description of Karl Rove. It also enters high pique about the muscular language of the leftist Euston Manifesto.

Spring cleaning: The White House announced Wednesday that Karl Rove will be stepping down as senior policy coordinator to return to his original milieu of campaign politics and that Press Secretary Scott McClellan will be resigning altogether. Consistent with new chief of staff Joshua Bolten's initiative to "re-energize" a lethargic administration, bloggers more or less skip the elegies on the departed and start wondering about the promise of the arrivals.

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Kevin. W. at the righty site The Liberal Wrong Wing writes: "Whoever replaces McClellan only needs to be an effective speaker. To be entirely truthful, McClellan wasn't exactly a oratory master. He did OK, handling tough questions. White House Press Secretary is easily among the most humiliating and difficult jobs in the Administration."

As to the much-bandied consideration of Fox News anchor Tony Snow becoming the next White House spokesman, John in D.C. at the liberal AMERICABlog says: "I thought he already was." However, Mary Katherine Ham at Weekly Standard contributor Hugh Hewitt's blog approves of the Snow job: "Now, that would be interesting. ... Qualified, very TV-friendly face, soothing voice. I like it. A lot."

"Not to hit a guy when he's down, but ... thank God," is John Podhoretz's verdict of McClellan's ouster at the old-school conservative National Review Online's The Corner, while Stephen Spruiell at the magazine's Media Blog affirms: "This is good news. It's not that Scott McClellan was a bad press secretary. It's that he is not the right press secretary right now. A White House press corps this hostile and guileful calls for a press secretary who's equally tough."

"I'm sure the spinners are already busy trying to come up with a way to portray this as a 'promotion' for Karl Rove," clucks the Gun-Toting Liberal, "but I think we all know it's not; the President's trying to get this guy out of the way by having him concentrate upon elections that most people realize the Republicans will not be winning." Noting that Rove's policy involvement was the only basis for his security clearance, lefty John Podesta at Think Progress wants to know if giving up the post means forfeiting the hush-hush intel rights: "Rove has now resigned his policy-making post and is focusing primarily on politics. Given Rove's public intentions to make national security the focus of the 2006 elections, the White House should reveal whether Rove will be doing his political job while holding a security clearance."

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Wonkette offers this backhanded compliment to "Bush's Brain" and an electioneer extraordinaire: "Most of the reason we don't believe the 'genius' line regarding Rove is that as a policy guy, he's never accomplished anything. His specialty is winning elections inna Lee Atwater stylee, and they're putting him to work on the midterms. First smart move Yosh has made, if y'ask us."

Read more about the White House staff shuffle.

To the Euston Station: Trotskyists, Stalinists, "stoppers," oh my. Left sectarianism has reached a nostalgic fever pitch in the blogosphere five days after the publication of the Euston Manifesto. Drafted by Norman Geras and Nick Cohen as a call to solidarity among democratic socialists and members of the "decent" internationalist left, the proclamation allows for differences on points of policy ranging from economics of globalism to the legitimacy of the Iraq war, but is as uncompromising in its opposition to fascism and radical Islam as it is to those who make excuses for either.

Geras, who edits the popular British Normblog, addresses some of the more clangorous feedback his rhetorical brainchild has elicited: "[T]he notion that the criticisms we make of the anti-war left have no application beyond the SWP and Respect is laughable. For more than three years, and week after week, the liberal press in this country has carried, in quantity, pieces by journalists, writers, academics, actors and sundry other kinds of folk, voicing every one of the wrong-headed tropes that the manifesto identifies."

Yet ally James Whicker is underwhelmed by the document's emphasis on the politics of the negative. At the vaguely Hitchensian Drink-Soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for War, he challenges his own faction to come up with something better: "What we need are serious proposals for how we shift the policy of the US and the UK in a direction that will enable it more successfully to crush those who live within the world-view of radical Islam. Polemical arguments against sections of the British left are a distraction. The real task is to shape strategies and policies for forwarding the democratisation project."

There's no love lost between the Geras/Cohen left and the "anti-imperialist" paleo-socialism of "Lenin" at Lenin's Tomb: "I don't want to be simplistic or anything, much less a blanket (damp or otherwise), but I'd suggest that if anti-imperialism is not a part of your political purview, then you have no right to claim to represent the 'real' Left. And if you have exerted yourself on behalf of governments who have killed and continue to kill in vast quantities, then you really have to be dead to shame, incapable of a flush not brought on by a pint in a Euston pub, to wheedle about the 'alliances' others have made."

Marc Cooper was against regime change in Iraq, but has nonetheless added his signature to the Manifesto: "I merely think, as we argue in the manifesto, that the menu of political challenges before us transcends the simple Bush-Blair policy in Iraq. My criticism of the anti-war movement has been on its terrible inefficiency and lack of coherent strategy—not on its overall goals."

Read more about the Euston Manifesto.