Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Bush’s “Centralized” Management

    Posted by Lexington Green on December 30th, 2003 (All posts by )

    Jonathan sent me this good snippet from Bruce Bartlett, one of the better economics commentators. Bartlett states that:

    It has long been apparent to observers like myself that this is the most centralized administration since Nixon’s. Cabinet secretaries and cabinet departments seem to have less influence on policy than at any time in recent memory. All key decisions appear to have been made in the White House and the only job of cabinet secretaries is to sell the policy, get votes in Congress, and raise money for the president’s reelection. It has long been apparent to observers like myself that this is the most centralized administration since Nixon’s. Cabinet secretaries and cabinet departments seem to have less influence on policy than at any time in recent memory. All key decisions appear to have been made in the White House and the only job of cabinet secretaries is to sell the policy, get votes in Congress, and raise money for the president’s reelection.

    My response was more or less as follows:

    Not surprising. Bush runs a tight ship. He learned a lot of lessons from his earlier experience with his Dad’s administration, which was crippled by his Dad’s overly collegial and genial and too-trusting style, and by in-fighting and leaking and political posturing. So, he is like a CEO who dictates policy and it is up to the division chiefs to execute it successfully or get new jobs. W may be going to[o] far the other way. But in W’s experience the alternative is not a healthy airing of views, and the dynamic generation of innovative policy initiatives, but a rudderless executive presiding over ill-disciplined subordinates, leading in turn to stasis and disaster. Also, W has guts. He is not afraid to give clear orders. He is not covering his ass. If something goes wrong he cannot blame a subordinate. He is in charge, and everybody knows it, and there is nowhere to hide. And he wants it that way. He is willing to bear the costs of command to obtain the benefits. And as to the comparison with Nixon, the salient comparison from Bush’s perspective is that Nixon was reelected in a landslide. Maybe Nixon’s management style had something to do with that.

    So, this doesn’t bother me too much. Maybe I should think it is awful that Bush’s administration is highly “centralized.” But I don’t see why. I think he’s doing pretty darn good, myself.