"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."
On many occasions, I have said the first priority on Bush's agenda should be bringing in new blood to the Pentagon. Apparently, I am not the only one.
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.
"He thinks that would be an admission he's screwed up, and he can't bring himself to do that," a former senior staffer lamented.
Without a shake up, the same people who constructed the failing agenda also fail to admit mistakes have been made or a change of course could help renew confidence in the administration
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."
And with the growing dismay brought on by all of the events, I have also noted that Bush appears to be getting more and more paranoid.
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.
As much as I dislike Bush, it is almost sad to watch Bush come unhinged like this.
All disquiet on West Wing front