Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What Kevin Said

Hey, Kevin Drum is on a roll (with a side of jicama slaw). I blog on one post and see he has another. The key bits:
[W]what truly makes [Bush] unique is what's missing: a respect for policy analysis. After eight months of working in the Bush White House, John DiIulio reported that "the lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking." Paul O'Neill described Bush in cabinet meetings as "a blind man in a roomful of deaf people." A senior White House official told Ron Suskind that the Bush White House is "just kids on Big Wheels who talk politics and know nothing. It’s depressing." The meltdown at FEMA, the war with the CIA for being insufficiently hawkish, the lack of a serious plan for Social Security privatization, the staffing of postwar Iraq with inexperienced ideologues — all of these things have the same root cause: a belief that ideas are all that matter.

Of course, that also means that President Bush's initiatives fail at a truly spectacular rate. After all, policy is all about figuring out how to implement ideas so that they actually work. If you believe that policy is something for effete liberal wonks — as George Bush evidently does — your ideas are doomed to failure. In the end, ironically, the one thing that Bush disdains so utterly is the very thing that guarantees his utter failure.

The Death of Policy

Well, there's failing and there's failing. It strikes me that there is a policy that Bush unfailingly follows - enrich my base. He has pumped more money into corporate hands both directly through government contracts and indirectly through government crises and blunders than most other presidents. I suspect you'd have to look at WWII to see a comparable portion of GDP being funneled to private interest.

His practice of destroying insitutional boundaries in order to expand his own power might be considered a successful policy.

The trouble is (and this relates to the last post) unless he can retain power (which could be considered the third player in this little triangle of greed), these policies cannot persist. Unfettered power ==> enrich my buddies ==> maintain death grip on levers of power ==> unfettered power ==> Rinse. Repeat.


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