Friday, February 17, 2006

More on the Cheney shooting incident, namely why what's most troublesome about the accident is nearly everything other than the accident itself:
....It took multiple phone calls and several hours for Bush to find out that his vice president almost killed a man. Bush's obliviousness is more interesting than Cheney's bad aim.

Being out of the loop is nothing new for this president. Whenever the public gets a random glimpse into Bush's private schedule, he seems to be strangely detached from events around him. When a crazy person sprayed the White House grounds with bullets in the middle of the day in 2001, we learned Bush was not working, but working out. When a plane flew into restricted Washington air space in 2005, Bush was biking in the suburbs, clueless about the emergency.

....Fear of detail is what has led to Bush's greatest failures. He didn't aggressively follow up on the pre-9/11 Presidential Daily Brief that warned "bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US." He was so determined not to second guess his generals that he watched from the sidelines as their military strategy allowed bin Laden to escape from Tora Bora. The Abu Ghraib prison scandal spread out of control without presidential intervention. And as the damning report to be released today on Hurricane Katrina shows, Bush dithered while New Orleans sank. According to The Washington Post, the report notes that "'earlier presidential involvement could have speeded the response' because he alone could have cut through all bureaucratic resistance." But that would have required micro-management instead of delegation.

The Bushies are supposedly fans of the so-called unitary executive theory, an idea with roots in Alexander Hamilton's Federalist No. 70. Their reading of Hamilton is that the executive branch has to be powerful. But they have it wrong. Hamilton didn't call for a powerful executive, he called for an "energetic" one, the kind who cuts through bureaucracy during an emergency or commands his generals instead of deferring to them. But Bush's detached MBAism is the opposite of energetic. It's passive and lethargic. No wonder he's always the last to know.
Well, King George is "passive and lethargic" when it comes to governance, public policy, and serving as the competent president we deserve. However, he apparently only has the energy to do things like workout incessantly, ride bikes, clear brush, and pack bags for vacations.

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