“He thinks that would be an admission he’s screwed up, and he can’t bring himself to do that.”

— a former senior staffer on any suggestion to the Chimp that Karen “Mommy” Hughes should be summoned back to whip the White House message into shape.

A NY Daily News article reports — via anonymous sources of course, since fear rules in this White House — that there is a lot of self-delusion about how bad things are, and true to form, the Chimperor wants to keep the wagons circled, and ignore the obvious breakdown on all fronts.

Embattled White House aides have begun to believe President Bush must take the reins personally if his evaporating agenda and credibility are to be salvaged.

“We’re just plodding along,” admitted a senior Bush aide from deep within the West Wing bunker. “It’s up to the President to turn things around now.” Even as his poll numbers tank, however, Bush is described by aides as still determined to stay the course. He resists advice from Republicans who fear disaster in next year’s congressional elections, and rejects criticism from a media establishment he disdains.

The President has always been willing to make changes,” the senior aide said, “but not because someone in this town tells him to – NEVER!

For the moment, Bush has dismissed discreetly offered advice from friends and loyalists to fire Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and bring back longtime confidant Karen Hughes from the State Department to shore up his personal White House staff.

…”The staff basically still has an unyielding belief in the wisdom of what they’re doing,” a close Bush confidant said. “They’re talking to people who could help them, but they’re not listening.”

Two sources said Bush has not only lost some confidence in his top aides, as the Daily News has previously reported, but is furious with a stream of leaks about the mood within the West Wing. “He’s asking [friends] for opinions on who he can trust and who he can’t,” one knowledgeable source said.

…Gone from the schedule are weekly cholesterol-laden breakfasts at Rove’s home where top Bush hands discussed strategy. Also missing are Sunday “message meetings” with outside thinkers like GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman, campaign pollster Matthew Dowd and superlobbyist Ed Gillespie.

Poor Ken-bot’s not invited to message meetings any more. Boo-hoo.

A card-carrying member of the Washington GOP establishment with close ties to the White House recently encountered several senior presidential aides at a dinner and came away shaking his head at their “no problems here” mentality. “There is just no introspection there at all,” he said in exasperation. “It is everybody else’s fault – the press, gutless Republicans on the Hill. They’re still in denial.”

It really sounds like there are mentally and emotionally unhinged people running this joint, desperately need of therapy, meds or both. If they are getting help, it’s clearly time to change doctors, folks.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding