Loyalty is important. It's hard to stick by someone when the going gets tough. But sometimes loyalty becomes mindless, dishonorable.
President Bush stuck by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld throughout his disastrous mismanagement of the Iraq war.
Finally, after last week's midterms, Bush dumped Rumsfeld. If he hadn't the new Democrat-led House would have staged hearings - an intervention. The relationship was a bad one and needed to end.
Britney Spears did some firing of her own last week, terminating her husband of two years, the hard-partying Kevin Federline, also known as K-Fed. "Stay the Course" was not an option here. The carousing K-Fed, an aspiring rapper, was a destabilizing force in their household, jetting off to Vegas only days after the birth of their second child. No surprise since he'd cut and run from the pregnant mother of his two other children to marry Spears.
It would have been destructive to herself and her children remain in this marital quagmire.
There are differences, of course: Britney fired her husband via text message. And Rumsfeld and Bush have no prenup that we know of.
By the way Britney told CNN months after the invasion of Iraq in 2003: "Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes." It's unlikely that a battle-tested Britney would be so thoughtless now.
Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi should spend the next few weeks thinking about loyalty. As leader of the minority Democrats she rallied her base by describing the president intemperately as "dangerous" and "incompetent." Okay, Democrats were frustrated, suffering from gavel envy.
But now that she's Speaker of the whole House and second in line to the presidency, she needs to shift her loyalties - from a diehard base to a larger more heterogeneous electorate. Otherwise, the 110th Congress will likely become - in the words of one of Britney's biggest hits... Toxic.