There is no doubt the White House is having a bad hair week.
Between the president's popularity polls, the war in Iraq, the withdrawal of Harriet Miers's nomination to the Supreme Court and the indictment of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice president's aide, there is not much to celebrate.
What has happened at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is that a leak turned into a hurricane. The roof has blown off, the West Wing is filling with water, the vice president's office is flooded and Karl Rove's credibility has washed out into the Potomac.
What to do? One of the suggestions tossed out by the damage control team is to call in FEMA, the most respected government agency in the nation.
I met with a FEMA executive the other day who told me: "We're ready. We will send gallons of drinking water, ice cubes, blankets, sleeping bags and soybeans, which were left over from Hurricane Wilma.
"The White House is in the eye of the storm, and if they don't move now, nothing can save them."
"Has the president asked you to rescue him?"
"He is now in the bunker next to the Situation Room, and we have a helicopter standing by to take him to Camp David."
"Didn't he know about the storm coming his way?"
"His staff knew but hid it from him. If there is one thing Bush hates it is bad news."
"But certainly he knew there were heavy storm clouds over Iraq."
"He finally noticed the weather had turned bad, but once again, George W. decided to stay the course."
"All right. What happened when he put Harriet Miers in a lifeboat? It sounded like another Titanic to me. Did the Marine band play 'Nearer, My God, to Thee?' "
"The storm caught him completely by surprise because the wind came from the right and not the left, which had originally been predicted. Once the surge hit the White House we had no choice but to put Harriet out to sea."
I said, "The newest disaster was when 'Hurricane Scooter' hit the White House with Category 5 winds."
"It could have been worse," the FEMA executive said.
"If Hurricane Karl had struck at the same time, the damage would have incalculable. By the way, 'Karl' is still out there and might make landfall at any moment."
"What is FEMA doing now?"
"We are battening down the hatches and asking Congress for more money to pay for Iraq, New Orleans and legal fees that any indicted people in the White House might need."
"Is the Red Cross helping?"
"It is asking Republicans to donate blood instead of giving money. The administration can't get enough fresh blood now."
I said, "There is some question that the White House cannot survive any more hurricanes."
"That is just another example of media frenzy."
"Does the White House still have power?"
"They have not lost power yet. How much they can generate in the next three years is anybody's guess."
(c) 2005, Tribune Media Services