Scorcho! When an establishment icon like Leslie Gelb, formerly of the New York Times and Council on Foreign Relations, calls for clearing out the White House staff, you know a presidency is in trouble. Gelb calls for the heads of Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (to be shunted off to an advisory role, presumably because of his penchant for calm reflection), National Security Adviser James Jones, Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers and Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Off with their heads! David Axelrod is to go off to a 2012 campaign office but David Plouffe should be given an office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
All of which smacks of blaming the czar’s favorites for the czar’s shortcomings. But Gelb does suggest some good names as possible replacements, among them Clinton Chiefs of Staff Erskine Bowles and Leon Panetta. I particularly liked his mention, as possible replacements for Jones, of former Ambassadors Thomas Pickering, Morton Abramowitz, Frank Wisner, Reginald Bartholomew and Winston Lord. I have run across all of them except Lord and, while I’m sure I don’t agree with them on some things, they’re all first rate. But Gelb’s preferred replacement, Zbigniew Brzezinski, would pose certain problem, as Gelb admits when he writes, “Obama will need to iron out Zbig’s lack of sympathy toward Israel and Russia." Aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, . . . .