Saturday, October 29, 2005

White House staffing

David Frum on the week in DC: A Turning Point. There's not much that's very insightful, except for a couple of interesting paragraphs:
The Miers appointment violated the President's commitment [to conservatives]. Beyond that, the Miers nomination evoked wide-ranging doubts among conservatives about the President himself and the way in which his White House was run. The carelessness with which the decision seemed to have been made, the high-handedness, the apparent indifference to merit, the failure to ask elementary questions: These triggered unhappy spasms of recognition. Similar faults could be seen in the Katrina failure, in the mishandling of Iraq and the larger war on terror, in relations with the allies ... the list goes on.

Miers was an important mistake, but it was a mistake that echoed with disturbing familiarity so many other mistakes of the recent past.

The Bush presidency has been a presidency of big plans and noble ambitions: the reform of Social Security and the tax system, regime change in the Middle East, cultural change in the United States -- but again and again those grand plans have been entrusted to inadequate hands....

A crisis, like Iran-Contra in 1986, can force a President to confront personnel issues and ask himself who truly is the best person to fill the important positions around him. And if ever a failure demanded a personnel rethink, it is the Miers fiasco. The President, any president, needs a staff that will tell him the truth, that will bring him bad news, that is not afraid of him, that is not illusioned about him, that will help him to act on his best instincts and resist his worst.

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