The Beginning of Staff-Hunting Season

So I'm at the gas station on Sunday and I see a guy I've known forever—one of the best plugged-in Democratic corporate lobbyists in town. The first words out of his mouth: "So Rahm's out," he says. I thought he was telling me news, but no, he was just poking me for gossip, based on the buzz around town. He had a kind of hunter's smirk on his face, as though he'd just sighted a slow-moving buck in the  Pennsylvania woods.

This is the kind of season Washingtonians love: staff self-immolation in the White House. As soon as a president loses his 'mo, it's time for the staff to turn on each other and for the local spectators to get their popcorn.

Somebody's got to be blamed. Rahm sensed a month ago (as I did, as so said on the Today show) that it was gonna be him.

He built his defenses through The Washington Post, but now The New York Times is after him, I hear, and the Times is stirring the pot by going after David Axelrod as well.

My gas-station buddy told me he'd already heard names of replacements for Rahm, including one retiring member of Congress and a former chief of staff from the Clinton era.

Of course the real reason Obama is in trouble is Obama—but we aren't at that stage yet.

We're in staff-hunting season.