11/09/2006 10:32 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Bush's Party Is Now Over; Does He Know It?

Recriminations, resentments, brother against brother? Washington is a town of Sunnis and Shiites, and that's just the Republicans.

Last week, President George W. Bush hailed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for doing a ``fantastic job.'' This week, Rummy is the fall guy.

And Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert, whom Bush went out of his way to buck up? He's history. He dismantled the Ethics Committee to protect former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, behaved as a politician rather than a parent when it came to former Representative Mark Foley, got rich on land that soared in value thanks to a new highway passing nearby, and rubber-stamped the president's agenda. That was then. He won't be running for minority leader in the new Congress.

Is fiddling with the organization chart, announced at a press conference yesterday, going to fix things? The news that former CIA Director Robert Gates would become defense secretary was marred when Bush was caught in a lie after he told reporters a few days ago that he would keep Rumsfeld.

With lies about matters of life and death rampant, a boldfaced one about a personnel change hardly amounts to a whole hill of beans. What matters is that it was hardly bold.

Republican candidates all over the country hid behind a call to deep-six Rummy in a cheap and often unsuccessful way to show independence from the president on the Iraq war. Even Laura Bush reportedly asked former Chief of Staff Andy Card if Rummy wasn't hurting her husband. The change will help, but not if Bush himself doesn't change.

Read the whole column here.