Will White House Shake Up Alter Public Opinion?

April 23, 2006 · 12:03 AM EDT

As Rob Portman moves into a new Administration post and Scott McClellan moves out of one, some members of the national media are abuzz. Will this help President George W. Bush as he and his party head to the ’06 midterm elections?

The answer is no.

Bush haters, of course, won’t change their opinions no matter what. But the President must start to convince swing voters — as well as Republicans who have grown disappointed with his performance — that some significant personnel and policy changes are on the way.

The President needs to give Americans an opportunity — and a reason — to reevaluate his performance and the state of the nation — and to conclude that things are going better than they thought.

That isn’t going to happen by naming a new OMB director or a new press secretary. While political junkies and insiders may know who those people are and what they do, most Americans are busy with their own lives.

A major Administration shake-up, which would almost surely include the Secretary of Defense, might well get the public’s attention, leading to talk that the President was making some fundamental changes — changes that would impact average Americans down the road.

But anything short of that is likely to be greeted with a collective yawn by most Americans, as they focus on American Idol or The Apprentice or CSI: Whatever.

The President needs what he has needed for over a year: good news, especially about Iraq and the war on terror. Unless he gets that, it’s unlikely that most Americans are inclined to reevaluate the President’s performance, no matter how good the unemployment numbers.

This item first appeared on Political Wire on April 19, 2006.