How do recent presidents rate as to independent political judgement? Which have relied more on teleprompter and which on effective originality? Does part of presidential management require compromise of command?
Clinton was the most intellectual of the last 4 presidents, but Clinton didn't really have any competition. Clinton actually wrote much of the content of his speeches. The last three Republican presidents had teams of speech writers.Loren Booda said:How do recent presidents rate as to independent political judgement? Which have relied more on teleprompter and which on effective originality? Does part of presidential management require compromise of command?
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4867329Fresh Air from WHYY, September 28, 2005 · Journalist Mike Allen is a White House correspondent for Time magazine. He co-authored a new investigative piece for the magazine into how the Bush administration appoints the officials who run vital government agencies.
The article grew out of concern over Mike Brown, the former head of FEMA, who was removed from his position because of widespread criticism about how Hurricane Katrina was handled by the agency.
Brown was a political appointee who brought little experience in disaster management to his job when he was first appointed. The article in this week's issue is, "How Many More Mike Browns Are Out There?"
The Post-Watergate law creating the position of inspector general (IG) states that the federal watchdogs must be hired "without regard to political affiliation," on the basis of their ability in such disciplines as accounting, auditing and investigating. It may not sound like the most exciting job, but the 57 inspectors general in the Federal Government can be the last line of defense against fraud and abuse. Because their primary duty is to ask nosy questions, their independence is crucial.
But critics say some of the Bush IGs have been too cozy with the Administration. "The IGs have become more political over the years, and it seems to have accelerated," said A. Ernest Fitzgerald, who has been battling the Defense Department since his 1969 discovery of $2 billion in cost overruns on a cargo plane, and who, at 79, still works as a civilian Air Force manager. A study by Representative Henry Waxman of California, the top Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, found that more than 60% of the IGs nominated by the Bush Administration had political experience and less than 20% had auditing experience--almost the obverse of those measures during the Clinton Administration. About half the current IGs are holdovers from Clinton.
Johnson says political connections may be a thumb on the scale between two candidates with equal credentials, but rarely are they the overriding factor in a personnel decision. Speaking of all such appointments, not just the IGs, he said, "I am aware of one or two situations where politics carried the day and the person was not in the job a year later."
Still, several of the President's IGs fit comfortably into the friends-and-family category. Until recently, the most famous Bush inspector general was Janet Rehnquist, a daughter of the late Chief Justice. Rehnquist had been a lawyer for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and worked in the counsel's office during George H.W. Bush's presidency before becoming an IG at the Department of Health and Human Services. In that sense, she was qualified for the job. But a scathing report by the Government Accountability Office asserted that she had "created the perception that she lacked appropriate independence in certain situations" and had "compromised her ability to serve as an effective leader." Rehnquist also faced questions about travel that included sightseeing and free time, her decision to delay an audit of the Florida pension system at the request of the President's brother, Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, and the unauthorized gun she kept in her office. She resigned in June 2003 ahead of the report.
Three weeks ago, however, Joseph Schmitz supplanted Rehnquist as the most notorious Bush IG. Schmitz, who worked as an aide to former Reagan Administration Attorney General Ed Meese and whose father John was a Republican Congressman from Orange County, Calif., quit his post at the Pentagon following complaints from Senate Finance Committee chairman Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa. In particular, Grassley questioned Schmitz's acceptance of a trip to South Korea, paid for in part by a former lobbying client, according to Senate staff members and public lobbying records, and Schmitz's use of eight tickets to a Washington Nationals baseball game. But those issues aren't the ones that led to questions about his independence from the White House. Those concerns came to light after Schmitz chose to show the White House his department's final report on a multiyear investigation into the Air Force's plan to lease air-refueling tankers from Boeing for much more than it would have cost to buy them. After two weeks of talks with the Administration, Schmitz agreed to black out the names of senior White House officials who appeared to have played a role in pushing and approving what turned out to be a controversial procurement arrangement. Schmitz ultimately sent the report to Capitol Hill, but Senators are irked that they have not yet received an original, unredacted copy.
Congressional aides said they are still scratching their heads about how Schmitz got his job.
The White House makes no apologies for organizing government in a way that makes it easier to carry out Bush's agenda. Johnson says the centralization is "very intentional, and it starts with the people you pick ... They're there to implement the President's priorities." Johnson asserts that appointees are chosen on merit, with political credentials used only as a tie breaker between qualified people. "Everybody knows somebody," he says. "Were they appointed because they knew somebody? No. What we focused on is: Does the government work, and can it be caused to work better and more responsibly? ... We want the programs to work." But across the government, some experienced civil servants say they are being shut out of the decision making at their agencies. "It depresses people, right down to the level of a clerk-typist," says Leo Bosner, head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) largest union. "The senior to mid-level managers have really been pushed into a corner career-wise."
Some of the appointments are raising serious concerns in the agencies themselves and on Capitol Hill about the competence and independence of agencies that the country relies on to keep us safe, healthy and secure. Internal e-mail messages obtained by TIME show that scientists' drug-safety decisions at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are being second-guessed by a 33-year-old doctor turned stock picker. At the Office of Management and Budget, an ex-lobbyist with minimal purchasing experience oversaw $300 billion in spending, until his arrest last week. At the Department of Homeland Security, an agency the Administration initially resisted, a well-connected White House aide with minimal experience is poised to take over what many consider the single most crucial post in ensuring that terrorists do not enter the country again. And who is acting as watchdog at every federal agency? A corps of inspectors general who may be increasingly chosen more for their political credentials than their investigative ones.
David Safavian didn't have much hands-on experience in government contracting when the Bush Administration tapped him in 2003 to be its chief procurement officer. A law-school internship helping the Pentagon buy helicopters was about the extent of it. Yet as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Safavian, 38, was placed in charge of the $300 billion the government spends each year on everything from paper clips to nuclear submarines, as well as the $62 billion already earmarked for Hurricane Katrina recovery efforts. It was his job to ensure that the government got the most for its money and that competition for federal contracts--among companies as well as between government workers and private contractors--was fair. It was his job until he resigned on Sept. 16 and was subsequently arrested and charged with lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings with the Federal Government.
I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you mean they make their own decisions, Bush would probably rank as one of the most decisive Presidents ever. That's why people don't like him! Clinton was the exact opposite: he based most of his decisions on opinion polls. That made him a weak leader, but it also meant that few people disliked him as strongly as they dislike Bush.Loren Booda said:How do recent presidents rate as to independent political judgement?
Bush speaks off-the-cuff far too often for his own good. I don't know how he ranks compared to others in actual "Candor Coefficient" (TM) though.Which have relied more on teleprompter and which on effective originality?
I'm not quite sure what you mean - are you talking about delegation of authority? If so, then absolutely. As a general rule, the higher the leadership position, the more authority must be delegated to underlings.Does part of presidential management require compromise of command?
:rofl: You've made these claims multiple times. Bush doesn't even read on his own, and I guarantee you when he makes obstinate choices or stupid remarks his staff cringes. Clinton speaks off-the-cuff all the time, but can actually speak, and it is very apparent to those with an open mind that he is well informed, often referring to credible sources--not just polls.russ_watters said:I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you mean they make their own decisions, Bush would probably rank as one of the most decisive Presidents ever. That's why people don't like him! Clinton was the exact opposite: he based most of his decisions on opinion polls. That made him a weak leader, but it also meant that few people disliked him as strongly as they dislike Bush.
It's ironic to me: for the most important leadership position in the world, most people seem to be looking for a dormat. Bush speaks off-the-cuff far too often for his own good. I don't know how he ranks compared to others in actual "Candor Coefficient" (TM) though. I'm not quite sure what you mean - are you talking about delegation of authority? If so, then absolutely. As a general rule, the higher the leadership position, the more authority must be delegated to underlings.
Are you kidding me? Bush bends over for the religious right whenever he gets the chance.russ_watters said:I'm not sure what you mean by that. If you mean they make their own decisions, Bush would probably rank as one of the most decisive Presidents ever. That's why people don't like him! Clinton was the exact opposite: he based most of his decisions on opinion polls. That made him a weak leader, but it also meant that few people disliked him as strongly as they dislike Bush.