Thursday, March 31, 2005

Bush requiring coordination? This is shocking!

Bush is actually enhancing the coordination among various departments by requiring cabinet officials work in a specially set up suite in a separate building for four hours a week instead of relying on underlings and hoped for contact from remote offices. The WaPo has the scoop.

But to some, like Paul C. Light, a professor of public service at New York University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, the sky is falling. He is "shocked."

I find it hard to believe Mr. Light is terribly worried this requirement will restrict how much "domestic Cabinet secretaries have to do with making policy." After all, the President has the prime responsibility for making policy as well as implementing policy within the framework of the duties the administrative branch of government as defined by the Constitution. Perhaps, Mr Light, doesn't think the President has the authority. Or perhaps, Mr Light is worried the President Bush will act on his oversight responsibilities to prevent gaffs and screwups or problems ocurring.

Considering the inclinations of Mr. Light and the Brookings Institution, perhaps Mr. Light is more likely dispairing the lost opportunities for his policy preferences being implemented by appointed cabinet officials unfettered by an elected President.

And how does hashing out policies in weekly cabinet meetings at the White House under Eisenhower differ so much from a minimum 4 hours per week of possible personal contact to discuss overlapping repsonsibilities with each other in a suite outside the White House under Bush? No one explains that or even delves into which is worse or whether that is good or bad; we have to take the word of "some scholars" by implication that it is bad. Very, very bad. (Sorry, just had a vision of Babu.)

And Heaven forbid, Mr Bradley, that power might gravitate away from, again, appointed cabinet officials and towards an elected president. (BTW, note to Michael Fletcher: This sentence needs some work: "They have been sucked away from the Cabinet officers and brought to the White House.")

Whoops, got to go. Company has arrived. Anyway, you get the jist of my opinion of this article as a serious story. But before I go, I'd just like to note the cabinet secretaries are not meeting at a compound, Mr. Fletcher. No matter how much you want to portray the Bush administration hunkered down in a quagmire and acting like they are being attacked left and right by insurgents, this is not the Green Zone in Baghdad.

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