The president is reeling. Tomorrow may mean a raft of indictments, or none at all. Either way, there is obviously something awry with the structure of the current White House, the small group of people who have dominated foreign policy and seem unable to rectify clear mistakes, and the inner clique who came up with the brilliant idea of nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. Bush will have two options in the coming days: a) retain as much of his staff as he can, while ceding the indicted to the history books and struggling on or b) clean house for real. I think he’d be smart to do b). By that, I mean firing Cheney as veep and replacing him with Condi Rice, regardless of what Fitzgerald discloses. Cheney’s role in the Plamegate mess is just the latest in a long string of screw-ups and misjudgments. If Bush cannot see that now, he is fooling himself. I also mean getting rid of Rumsfeld, replacing Card, withdrawing the Miers nomination, and shaking his cabinet to its roots. He needs to show the world that he gets it; and that he will not merely limp along in damage control mode for the next three years. In every crisis, there is an opportunity. The future of Bush’s presidency will pivot on whether he seizes this moment, surprises all of us, and regains momentum. He can; and he should. We have a war to win. We cannot afford to have a reeling vacancy in the Oval Office.

THE READERS VENT: Byron Calame provides an online forum for NYT readers to tear Bill Keller and Arthur Sulzberger Jr to shreds. I’m not sure whether I am more shocked or impressed. (Hat tip: Petrelis.)


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