I suggested two weeks that White House Chief of Staff Andy Card “take a break” and resign from his demanding job as President Bush’s top aide. Card took that advice today, stepping down as chief of staff.
As I noted on the Right Angle, Card is no machine, but he certainly acted like one in his incredibly long stint as chief of staff—more than five years, starting when Bush took office in January 2001. Card should be commended for his service to our country.
Here’s what I wrote two weeks ago:
Working in the White House would be an honor for many people, and serving eight years alongside the President as his chief of staff would demolish all modern-day records. But Andy Card isn’t a machine, nor is anyone asking him to be one.
He’s incredibly skilled (not to mention his mastery of the cool concept of a “memory palace”) and has done an admirable job as a public servant (in this Bush Administration and previous GOP administrations). But it’s time for Card to take a break—and set an example that will allow others, including Press Secretary Scott McClellan, to move on to greener pastures.
It’s now up to current Office of Management and Budget Director Josh Bolten to take the reins and set the White House back on course. He can do so by returning the President’s focus to core conservative issues, starting with an enforcement-first approach to immigration reform. (It was no secret that Card came from the moderate wing of the party.)
Meanwhile, Bolten’s departure from OMB gives the President an opportunity to install a fiscal conservative in that job. Former Rep. Pat Toomey, president of the Club for Growth, would be an ideal choice.
My colleague, John Gizzi, first reported the Toomey-for-OMB story in November 2004 after that year’s elections left Toomey without a job. (He nearly defeated Sen. Arlen Specter in the GOP primary earlier that year.) With conservative Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Pa.) presumably still on the Toomey-for-OMB bandwagon, it’s not out of the question.