April 20, 2006

A Failed Presidency

The WaPo says Bush is shifting into Survival Mode while TIME says Bush has gone Back to the Future by re-appointing staff from his father's administration, an effort which is tantamount to an admission of failure.

This little section is interesting:
For most of the first five and a half years in office, titles notwithstanding, Bush didn't have a chief of staff. Andy Card was many things: family friend, trusted aide, personal assistant. But he was never a chief of staff in the Jim Baker/Ken Duberstein/Leon Panetta mold. Those men played a different hand: they stood at the cross section of policy and politics, managed the process beneath them and teed up the crucial decisions for their boss. Outside of national security matters, they did not share the job with anyone.

Bush opposed that model, having learned the lessons of his father's experience with John Sununu perhaps a little too well. The family lore holds that 41 was misserved by Sununu, who often took as hard a line with the President's allies as with his enemies, and many in the party believe that it was George W. Bush who fired him (both myths are a little at odds with the real story). But in any case, the strong chief model was still much in disfavor inside Bushland even by 2000. No strong chief of staff for me, said 43.
It's such a familiar bahaviour pattern, isn't it? We never make mistakes, so we have to find scapegoats. And because we always blame the scapegoats, we never learn from our mistakes.


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