The New York Times reports that national security adviser Jim Jones’s departure, long expected to take place at the end of the year, was accelerated because of “statements that he apparently made to Bob Woodward” that were reproduced in Woodward’s Obama’s Wars.
One of the most famous of those statements was calling Rahm Emanuel and the other political aides around the president “the water bugs,” for their flightiness and insubstantiality. Jones’s term was the peg for last week's WEEKLY STANDARD editorial (“The Chief Water Bug Departs”). That editorial suggested that Emanuel’s departure last Friday, like Jones’s this Friday, may have been welcomed and accelerated by his boss, President Obama. It apparently cut close to the bone in Rahm-friendly circles, judging from the intemperate reaction of Emanuel allies. Now Jones is precipitately gone as well—removing another failed senior staff member.
Obama has now slid under the bus in the last few months, with little muss or fuss, his chief of staff, his national security adviser, his budget director, and his top economic adviser. The first three have been replaced, and the last will be, by less colorful and more conventional—but also more competent and less self-aggrandizing—staffers. I suspect they’ll serve the president better than their predecessors, as they try to clean up the mess their predecessors made.