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8/30/2004

Bush's Management Style

Mike Allen and David Broder of the The Washington Post undertake an effort to tease out George W. Bush's managerial style. They must tease it out because people like Karen Hughes obviously lie about it, people like Dick Cheney fight to the death to prevent internal documents from becoming public, and people like Bob Woodward are so beholden to access that nary a discouraging word is heard.

Bush is invariably paralyzed when it comes to making hard decisions - what to do about Iran or North Korea - anything that requires weighing costs and benefits. He is willing to believe anyone who can give him a cost free solution to a difficult problem. The willingness of his advisers to offer ludicrous solutions to intractable problems is directly proportional to their ideological fervor. The cost free solutions can be as complex as they need to be to evade imposing any cost on a potential electoral demographic. Bush will stand by those cost-free solutions unless he perceives an electoral advantage to changing his position.

I would have liked to see a discussion with Paul O'Neill, but the piece is on the whole quite good. Particularly the last 1/3. My favorite quote:

Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans, Bush's best friend, said the president forces people to boil things down "to discipline the system so that people don't abuse the taxpayers' time of the president."
George W. Bush has spent almost a third of his presidency on vacation.

 

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