Josh Bolten’s Five Point Plan

Karl Rove is not the only government employee getting paid to help the GOP keep control of the House and Senate.

Time Magazine reports that new WH Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten has developed a five point plan to reverse Bush’s falling popularity and keep his legacy from becoming “investigations and fights over Executive privilege” with newly empowered Democrats. (As opposed to “The Worst President in History?“) The frequent references to the time remaining in the 43rd presidency have an intriguing association to the movie “Anne of a 1000 Days”. Anne being one wife of King Henry VIII who died, or was killed, 1000 days after she became his wife. (If memory serves, she was the mother of Queen Elizabeth I, and Henry wanted a male heir ).

I digress. The Bolten White House Staff revision, the fourth since 1/05 according to Time and so far only a game of musical chairs, is only just begun. However the potential GOP losses in November have put pressure on Bolten to move quickly on staff changes so a six months campaign to change the public opinion of this presidency can get out of the gate. Already in his new position, Karl Rove will give up the minutiae of the deputy chief of staff position (ie. spending “hours editing memos written for the President by specialists on everything from levees to student test scores.”) to Joel Kaplan, former Marine and Supreme court clerk. He’s a 36 year old newlywed, maybe he will cut the editing time down so W actually gets some usable information.

Fortunately for us, friends and colleagues of Bolten’s leaked his five point “recovery plan” to TIME.

1) “Deploy Guns and Badges”. For his base worried about the illegals crossing the border, Bush will get $ for more enforcement. Mexico, not Canada. The Photo – ops will be of W meeting with the new Border Patrol agents who have badges, guns and ride around on ATVs. Bush would even go riding on an ATV. Maybe he will fall off, or look like Michael Dukakis in the tank. (No offense to the Govenor, I’ve never met any guy who would pass up a ride in a hi tech army tank. I sure wouldn’t.)

2) “Make Wall Street Happy” Somehow I can’t picture them happy. They don’t always look as grumpy as (Bronco Coach) Mike Shanahan, but I don’t remember seeing them smile either. This transformation will be achieved by getting the legislature extending tax rate cuts for stock dividends and capital gains passed. Here the photo ops will be on financial TV shows when the happy Wall Street guests tell Republican investors how great the economy is.

Can we get them to talk about how this will offset the $150,000 Federal debt every child now owes?

3) “Brag more” This includes every thing from the Medicare drug bill, the stock market, stable inflation and interest rates, plus anything good that comes out of Iraq. It will not include health care, the rebuilding of NOLA, gas prices or the civil war in Iraq. I think it should also include “pray more”. That the housing market doesn’t tank and the cost of everything that uses oil and gas doesn’t go up as fast as the pump prices.

4) “Reclaim Security Credibility.” Acknowledging this is the risky part, the plan is to use Iran’s nuclear program as Bush’s salvation from the Iraq fiasco. “a Republican frequently consulted by the White House has said “”In the face of the Iranian menace, the Democrats will lose.” Wow, don’t send this guy the LA Times/Bloomberg poll or Friedman’s OP-Ed. If the generals and intelligence officers stop coming out of retirement to speak up on this, can we try the ’64 Johnson ad?

5) “Court the Press.” Starting with hiring Tony Snow of Faux News as the new WH press secretary. He is considered an ‘outsider’ and a fun guy. I’m not sure how much the press is in a mood to be courted. They’ve been married to Bush for 5 years and lately it’s shown signs of breaking up. If they do cave in, I’m betting on a short honeymoon. Especially if we through a lot of rice paper at the press – LTEs, reminders of how they failed in the Iraq questions…

Oh, the staff is going to “work more astutely with journalists”. as-tute, adj.: shrewd, clever, cunning. Same song, different verse?

I personally like the “investigations and fights over Executive privilege” with newly empowered Democrats, option.

Since we have been handed the plan, thanks to friends and TIME, let’s get the obstacles up before Josh has the rest of the staff in their chairs. Start the music.

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7 Responses to Josh Bolten’s Five Point Plan

  1. Ginny in CO says:

    Al Franken has a Congressman from Buffalo, New York explaining that the Medicare Drug Bill;
    -Started with the administration telling the actuary to lie to Congress about the cost of the bill or he would be fired.
    -Was developed with the drug companies at the table. After it was passed, the (Republican) congressman who saw the bill through left congress to take a lucrative job with a pharmaceutical company. (Sometimes these folks are transparent)
    -Unlike the VA, with 20 million members, the 47 million Medicare recipients were not given the power of negotiating lower prices with the drug companies. So, as happy as I am that the Vets are at least getting their drugs cheaper, with this plan the drug companies are still making big profits off people on fixed incomes.
    -The program is confusing. Al Franken wanted to know “Why would you develop a program that is confusing, for old people?” I would think this increased confusion would add to the number of prescriptions doctors (not Ron) would write for drugs that have not been proven to have an effect on this problem in the elderly.
    -The deadline is approaching for Seniors to sign up and many have not. They are still mulling over the 40 or so plans that are offered. Hmm, which insurance company should I donate money to pay for the CEOs multimilliion dollar salary? While they cut their budgets for food and heat to pay for prescription drugs.

    If you have ideas for how to rebut any of the Boltens strategic point, please share.

  2. Ginny

    We could start with JK’s 10 point plan!

  3. Ginny in CO says:


    Definitely. I also like this:

    “Sociologist Todd Gitlin in a new book, “The Intellectuals and the Flag” argues that the intellectual left must take back the flag in order to reclaim power. He argues that especially since 9/11, what intellectuals must make clear is that they are patriots. Gitlin also says intellectuals must do more than dissent and should sharpen values and “sketch visions” for the public on where American democracy should go.”

    On specific issues, particularly the ones Bolten et al bring up, we need to take Kerry’s points and enlarge upon them with the visions. People grasp facts better when they are associated with imagery.

    Using Kerry’s 10 points gives a starting point, a framework and reinforces how broadly it applies to our problems.

  4. BlueWashington says:


    The big “IF” to Bolton’s Plan and the GOP in general – IMO – will be if Rove is indited by Fitzgerald. If that happens – there goes the show for shrub. Bolton could run around D.C. all he wants and tell everyone that he’s there to shake up the WH, but it won’t matter – the stench of corruption will be everywhere.

    We will have to stay tuned to see what happens.

  5. pen says:

    Did anyone see David Gergen on 360?
    He said from what he knew of Josh Bolten he doubted this was his plan and that he signed off on it.

    So what if this is a smoke screen to get the dems concentrating on the 5 point plan while the gop goes after other stuff.

    Iraq, katrina, Mid east peace none of that is on here. What about budget deficts? You can’t make wall street happy with a blooning deficit that will bite the consumer in the butt next year. Gergen said budget deficit, iran wasn’t on the list and that’s why he doubt that this was bolten’s plan.

    So did someone put this out to embarrass bolten as anderson asked? Rove would do something like this.

    Or is this a smoke screen: I think this is a smoke screen. Rove said earlier they were going after security and moral issues so if moral issues are the big guns again why aren’t they mentioned?

    The stench of this signals a set up to me. If not then the White house is more nuttier than I thought.

  6. Ginny in CO says:

    BW, no hope lost here on that indictment, any time would be just fine. And any others. Another General spoke up today. 7 NY highschool kids filed a lawsuit against Rummy and the assistant SoD for human resources for keeping an illegal data base on 16 to 25 year olds. ACLU is on it.


    I thought it was pretty stupid, especially since Bolten is supposed to be really smart. The beauty of it is, how do the base or wavering GOP or Independents know? I figured, it’s in TIME. Knock it down. Majority Report was all over it. And I had seen another article about the TIME article first.

    I don’t think anyone is going to let Rove control the security argument. It’s been front and central to the Dem plan. And they have no ground to stand on. The morals issues are losing ground for them. Other than the fanatic base, others are starting to see the hypocrasy on morals and values, plus the dangers of voting them when the candidate doesn’t offer much else. Even the values voters are not happy, the GOP has not gone far enough for them

    I don’t trust Gergen anymore. Even though the scenario seems stupid, the list is actually a lot of what they are doing. The press thing has been going on for at least a month. The way they are using Iran defies any sense of rationality, Bragging rights are a part of any incumbent – except bush has so little to brag about and so much to dodge.

    That’s where Gergen makes no sense. Iraq, Katrina, middle east peace, the deficit: they are losing subjects for bush in the polls, further exposure is more likely to hurt. In fact, one of the periods the Dems need to jump all over is the 1st anniversary rehashing of Katrina and Rita. The lack of progress, the devastation, the tv video of those first days will all be back on the major networks & print – unless the corporate owners put a lid on it.

    The stock market/tax stuff is their bread and butter. They have to do it. And today, there was a story about how Wall street is giving $ to dem candidates (mostly Clinton and Lieberman) and how many Republicans are worried about the economy. They may hold their noses to donate and vote Dem, but they are having to do that to vote GOP. They will not vote for a Dem pres in ’08, but this year they will keep reliable Dem congress people from losing and possibly support some newer ones if the incumbent is a problem.

    The ATV ride and hanging with border patrol guards is a pure bush photo-op. Doesn’ t matter if it’s Bolten’s plan, Rove’s plan or someone else. He will have to do something to appease the base about his guest worker program. Rove may be focusing on core issues while Bolten does the other important ones that need attention.

    We need to be agile enough to react quickly to what ever comes out. The more they get knocked down, the harder it is to get up – as we know all too well. There is also a tendency in this kind of situation – when you have this kind of fall from power – to panic and do stupid things. Definitely need to catch them doing stupid stuff.
    And point out how stupid it is loud, clear and quick.

  7. pen says:

    I agree gergen is a pill and can’t be trusted but there is still something about this that just doesn’t feel right. For a whitehouse so secretive they sure are getting chatty these days. Could this be a part of the press reach-out sure but bush is sneaky by nature so something is up.

    The dems better be agile and keep bush on the ropes.

    I agree Katrina was the nail in this whitehouse legacy coffin but bush is trying weakly but trying to pin the blame on congress. Now there are still 32% of folks who still believe in this idiot.

    I agree the dems need to highlight what has been done and not done to clean up the gulf. But they are going to have to do more than lip service they are going to have to get their hands dirty and show that they want to help in the clean up.

    Folks on both sides are getting a bit tired of politicians saying they are going to pass legislation to help them.