Wednesday, May 31, 2006

American Prospect: Locked in the Cabinet

If Secretary Snow was really locked tightly in the Bush cabinet since his confirmation, then it might be fair to say that he found an escape by tossing himself into the waste basket. Robert Reich, who deserves much more credit than he receives for the role he played as Labor Secretary in the first Clinton Administration, captures the essence of why the current administration fails to understand and react to problems well. Beyond any one issue, there appears to be a pattern of presuppositions, not the least of which centers on the belief that the executive needs fewer limits on his power, which constrain thought in the executive branch so that adaptability is precluded and debate is simple, efficient, and pointless. Reich closes with an insightful observation about the self-defeating nature of this approach to executive governance.

That Bush, Rove, and Cheney chose instead to impose lockstep discipline and gag orders has not only diminished the role of the cabinet but also, in the end, diminished the role of the President.


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