On the day that long-time White House Chief of Staff Andy Card took a bullet for an incompetent White House operation - more on that in a moment - another former White House staffer has also departed:

Lyn Nofziger, long-time aide to Ronald Reagan and a personal friend and adviser of mine, died of bladder cancer yesterday at the age of 81.

Lyn had been a newspaper reporter when then-candidate Ronald Reagan’s kitchen cabinet asked him in the 1966 race for governor to become press secretary to the campaign. From that day forward - with a few temporary postings elsewhere - Lyn was one of Dutch’s closest and most loyal aides.

I had the privilege of working for Lyn in 1974 when he oversaw the campaign of Leo K. Thorsness, a just-returned US POW in North Vietnam, who was running for the US Senate against George McGovern in South Dakota. I was the National Finance Chairman and moved to Sioux Falls in June 1974. It was there that I met Lyn and immediately became a Nofziger disciple. (It was the same week that I first talked to John McCain, a one-time cell-mate of Leo Thorsness in a Hanoi prison camp. McCain, I would learn, is one mean, rotten fellow - not the jovial personality he uses to enthrall the gullible mainstream media lap dogs who feel guilty about their own use of college deferments to stay out of Vietnam.)

Lyn Nozfiger was by that time a campaign consultant who oversaw a campaign and worked with the candidate and the campaign manager to run the entire enterprise.

Four years later, when I ran for the House, I hired Lyn as my consultant. A few months later he left my paltry little campaign to re-join his Destiny: Ronald Reagan’s campaign. A year later the best President of our lifetime was elected and, on that same wonderful night, I was elected as a proud Reagan loyalist in the House. In the next two years I had the strongest pro-Reagan voting record of any Congressman from New York State (tied with Jack Kemp).

Lyn Nofziger was the political director in the early years of the Reagan White House and he never changed: in 1982 he brought me down to the Oval Office to be lobbied on the TEFRA bill - Tax Equification and Fairness in Reporting Act (what a memory I have if I can remember that bill 24 years later!). As the President and I sat on those two famous chairs in front of the fireplace in the Oval Office, Lyn Nofziger - tie never properly tied and hanging loose - was lying down on the sofa in his stockinged feet like he was watching the NFL on a Sunday afternoon! In the Oval Office!!!

Lyn was funny, clever - a great punster which can only come from a quick mind and great vocabulary - and a loyal Reaganite and a true-blue libertarian conservative.

We will all miss him.

Andy Card’s departure today will do nothing to change the downward spiral of GW Bush’s presidency. Why not? Because the problem in this administration is not the staff; it is that the President and the Vice President have bad judgement. Period.

Instead of listening to other opinions, they think they know best. Iraq is the perfect example where they have been wrong about virtually every single pronouncement and statement they have made - and yet they never admit they were wrong and never adjust.

This arrogance is destroying the Bush Presidency - and may be ripping apart the GOP, too.

What a contrast to Ronald Reagan - and to Lyn Nofziger. Reagan and his staff were not arrogant; they treated us on the Hill as the co-equals we were in the government. Team Bush walks all over their own supporters on the Hill - and the result now is that the pent-up anger over that treatment is coming back to haunt the administration.

Andy Card is not to blame. He is a loyal Bush aide but not the architect of the now-failing policies in Iraq, Dubai ports, immigration and Katrina; he was merely following Bush’s orders.

The fish rots from the head down. And in this White House the orders indeed come from the Oval Office.


Remembering - please - that this column is for political analysis, we need to analyze President Bush’s surprising announcement at his Tuesday White House press conference that our troops will be in Iraq for years to come and their removal will be up to “future presidents and future Iraqi governments.”

This pronouncement was, to put it mildly, a shock. In fact, especially to his own staff who, that evening, rushed out to the media with vague ‘qualifiers’ intended to soften the blow.

Apparently this is how policy is made in the Bush White House: with no prior discussion with staff and advisers, GW Bush just throws out something totally unexpected - and, frankly, politically disastrous - and then the staff scrambles to back-track.

What a way to run a war!

The political effects are wide-ranging:

1) For the GOP in this year’s mid-term elections, this will accelerate the breaking away from the Bush White House. There is no appetite in America for years more of the same in Iraq. And most people have already concluded that the War in Iraq is finito, done, finished, over and done with. Few American can any longer believe that a real, peaceful democracy can emerge from the mess in Iraq.

2) Many people had the belief that our mission was winding down in Iraq. Now we are told the contrary: we will be there past 2008 and maybe years beyond. And they are wondering, “Why?”

3) The Bush White House has launched yet another new attack plan: blame the media for the focus on the bad news in Iraq. Oh, really? Bush’s own Ambassador to Iraq, Ambassador Khalizad, said recently, “Iraq is close to a civil war.” And the former Iraqi Prime Minister Alawi, who the White House called in 2004 the “Iraqi George Washington,” said that Iraq is already in a civil war.

So blaming the media is a dodge, a canard and phony tactic that will not change the dynamic of this now-disastrous war.

4) 2008: if we are to have troops still in Iraq in 2008, then that greatly affects the 2008 presidential race. All candidates running for president who supported the war will have to defend that support - and the field will be wide open for a candidate who consistently warned that this pre-emptive invasion was going to be a total disaster.

5) The Establishment: you can already see that there is a growing split in this country on many issues - immigration, the economy, health care. There is a populist wind blowing - and the Establishment sits still, all comfortable, warm and happy - and oblivious to the unhappiness across our country. The President is now viewed by almost 60% as not “honest and trustworthy” - a horrendous rating that makes his ability to govern almost impossible.

Indeed, we are heading into a rocky period of our political history where a new grass-roots and Netroots political revolution has begun.

Make no mistake about it: between now and 2008 we will see profound, shocking and unexpected political developments. And this will be, in the long run, good for a country that needs to wake up and realize how off course we are today.


Today is the first day of spring - and hope and new life abound. It is often the most exciting part of the year: flowers blooming, warm breezes replacing the cold winter winds - and new birds and animals being born.

As Americans we are having a ‘cold winter - in Iraq. Three tough years that have seen much bloodshed and even more division here at home. The presidency of GW Bush is basically in shatters - and the Republican Party is in big trouble for having supported the Bush Administration through a series of colossal failures: Social Security Reform, Katrina, Medicare Prescription Drugs, Harriet Meyers and Dubai Ports.

In sum, a miserable record that is leaving many Republicans feeling fearful of November.

It is time we all realize a basic fact of life: government - even when it is run by Republicans - is a sump of ineptitude, ego, self-aggrandizement, corruption and lies.

But the beauty of this great country is we survive despite the government.

The United States has many problems - but none of them are insolvable. In fact, they will all work out. We - the people will get them solved. It will take longer than we want, but we will solve them.

Growing up in the 1960's - and already watching the evening newscasts by the age of 13 - I can remember how every single night for years the 30-minute newscast was totally dominated by Vietnam. Night after night we saw film footage of battles in South Vietnam - and the death toll of our troops regularly exceeded 100's per week.

I often asked myself - at age 13 - “is this ever going to are we going to get out of this?”

Well, by 1973 - and then 1975 - the Vietnam War indeed ended.

It took way too long - and cost 58,000 American lives. But that problem was finally ended because the politicians who screwed it all up finally heard the American people.

Today we have some wrenching problems. Besides Iraq, we are dominated by the illegal immigration disaster that is widespread - and on which Washington DC has totally missed the boat.

Well, in the 2008 presidential election, this issue will be huge - and it will again show how the American people still run this country.

Here is a Hopeful Prediction for the spring: we are about to see a truly democratic political revolution in our country. Through the Internet and Talk Radio and Blogs, the old way is no longer capable of setting the agenda - and picking our political candidates.

The New Way is here: using this new technology we, the people, are about to reject the Establishment of both parties. Dubai Ports was a precursor of this: until Talk Radio (Mike Savage is a hero on this) and the Internet got ginned up, the ports deal would have sailed through without the American people ever knowing about it.

But the New Media indeed exposed it, rallied the grassroots and Netroots, and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives broke from their 5-years of lock-step support for GW Bush. They listened to the people! How refreshing!

Much more of this is to come - including rejection of Establishment candidates in both parties. And new solutions to problems - in unexpected ways.

This indeed is what makes this spring so hopeful.

Breaking down the seemingly impenetrable barrier between the people and the Establishment is a huge development.

George W. Bush preaches ‘democracy’ as the solution to all problems. Well, he and his DC cohorts - Republican and Democrat alike - are about to get a real dose of true democracy.

And that is the most hopeful development of all.


The GOP cattle show and straw vote Saturday in the Peobody Hotel in Memphis is the first primary in the 2008 race. Let’s examine many aspects of the next two and a half years:

1) GW Bush’s collapse in all polls has accelerated the thirst for new leadership. Thus the overly-intense focus on a totally meaningless straw ballot on Saturday night. The Republican Party is in turmoil now because of the ports fiasco, Iraq and Bush’s negative ratings (a whopping 60% disapproval rating in the latest AP-Ipsos poll - plus a staggering 70% who think the country is headed in the ‘wrong direction’). The party is casting about for anything - and anyone to lead it back to a position of proud leadership.

2) The so-called Main-Stream Media’s (MSM) favorite is their darling, John McCain. That is his constituency. Chris Mathews, Howard Fineman, Imus in the Morning...they all fawn over McCain, ask him soft-ball questions and act like love-struck teenage girls preening for the star quarterback’s attention.

There is only one problem: McCain has horrible political instincts. Think back to 2000 when he deliberately insulted the religious right and trashed those who believe in tax cuts. How smart was that when you’re trying to win the GOP nomination?

Now he is running again. But he is fighting the last war: this time he is sucking up to Bush just when Bush is self-destructing. How smart is that?

Now is the time for McCain to be McCain - not to try to be Bush.

The result?

He is nobody.

His performance in Memphis was pathetic. In a transparent attempt to win over Bushies and the Bush fund-raising machine, McCain opts out of the straw ballot and asks his supporters to write-in GW Bush’s name instead.

This was done because McCain knew he couldn’t win the straw ballot and a loss would hurt his front-runner status. Recall that in the 2000 GOP primaries McCain lost among GOP voters; he only won in states where independent and democrats were eligible to vote.

So instead he pulls this stunt. He also endorsed the ports deal - yet another sign of his political tone-deafness. And he wants to send even more troops to Iraq - even though 77% of the American people believe it is now a lost cause rapidly descending into a civil war.

As has been written here before, John McCain is a horrid man: arrogant, sarcastic, cocky and condescending. To know him is to detest him. He hides that side of himself when sucking-up to the MSM. But those who know him will tell you: he is just the worst!

3) Senator Frist’s ‘victory’ was a bit of a sham: it is in his home state and he apparently bussed in loads of eager college students to vote for him.

But he is a weak Senate leader and an even weaker candidate. A very poor speaker with no ideas, principles or knowledge of political history.

He is going nowhere.

4) Governor Mitt Romney came in a surprise second. Although it isn’t a surprise to those who have seen how hard he has worked at this over the past 2 years. He is dead-serious about winning and can not be under-estimated. He is attractive, focused, smart and hard-working.

An unanswered question is: will his Mormon religion have any effect on his candidacy? Will the Christian Right accept a Mormon?

5) The other big disappointment on Saturday was the weak 4th place finish for Senator George Allen, everyone’s second-favorite candidate and the conservative many hope will defeat McCain.

Allen is affable, attractive - and genuinely conservative. So why the poor showing?

6) Rudy Giuliani chose not to participate, citing business commitments. Although he does very well in useless name-ID polls, it is hard to believe a pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-gun control, thrice-married social liberal can win the GOP nomination.

But his continuing strength in the polls might mean that no one has yet captured the imagination of the Republican Party.

And make no mistake about it: this is a party desperate for a new leader in the Reagan mold who can bring the USA back together - and make us respected world-wide once again.

Conclusion: 2008 is rapidly approaching. So, too, is the Hillary Machine - and all the MSM love for her and her social radicalism: gay marriage, pro-abortion and anti-death penalty crusading.

Hillary is a social revolutionary hiding in a sham marriage. The whole Clinton co-presidency is designed to get her into the Oval Office to bring about their 1960's dream of a social revolution in this country.

The GOP better be ready because it will be the fight of a lifetime.


Several sources over the weekend reveal that the Bush White House has realized that the Ports Deal is killing them politically - and thus they need a new strategy. Accordingly, probably through the recently-retained lobbyist for Dubai Ports World, former Senator Bob Dole, the White House has told Dubai Ports World to ‘partner up’ with an American company to manage the port terminals. In other words, find a ‘front company’ to act as if they own and run these 21 crucial terminals.

First out of the box for this ‘front’ role is Halliburton, but the feeling is there is too much controversy there so that won’t do either.

So as the new week begins - and Bush’s ratings among Republicans and conservatives continues to fray - the White House is still trying to resuscitate this ports deal. And until and unless they cut the cord and realize it will never pass political muster, this White House is committing daily political suicide.

The longer it goes on - and we will hear new things this week now that the President is back from the sub-continent - the more it divides the GOP. Today there is genuine fear up on Capitol Hill that the House of Representatives could indeed change hands in November. Why? Because the crucial Republican base is so unhappy over this ports deal and illegal immigration that it may just not vote in heavy numbers in November. And is that base vote stays at home, a number of GOP congressmen - and senators, too - may lose.

The White House - slow to realize how perilous their situation is - is just now waking up to political - and legal - reality. Legal? Yes. If the Democrats win even one house of Congress back, they will have subpoena power and the power to run massive investigations into the Bush Administration.

You can be certain they will launch inquiries into every aspect of the Bush Presidency: Iraq, energy deals, spying, torture, money matters, cozy corporate deals and on and on.

Make no mistake about it: if they can, they will impeach President Bush. Why? A) Because they hate him; B) Because it will juice up their supporters; C) Payback for the Clinton impeachment.

All of this has just now dawned on an asleep-at-the-switch White House political operation. In fact, the Karl Rove-led political shop has been off its game since the 2004 re-election. Why? Perhaps the tick-tick-tick, drip-drip-drip of the ongoing Valerie Plame investigation is distracting and wearing. For those of you who may not follow this, the Patrick Fitzgerald grand jury has been meeting every Wednesday and Friday mornings at 9:30 AM - ostensibly to do ‘read-ins’ of prior grand jury testimony. The target? Karl Rove - for lying and perjury. Rove knows this and must be worried sick over it. And thus his job performance is suffering because of it.

No wonder the Cheney shooting problem was allowed to eat up an entire week; no wonder this Ports Deal was not vetted properly.

The Bush White House has lost touch with 60 % of the country.

And you can’t run a country this way.

We are entering a period in our political life when there is no center, where things are spiraling off into all areas in an uncontrolled way. There is no ‘strong’ figure in our political life. The President has quickly ruined his presidency and become even more than a lame duck; he is a crippled duck.

There is no telling how this vacuum will be filled. Will it be one of the candidates now running for president?

Or will it be by someone new to us all - a new and refreshing face - who rides in to clean the mess up?