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Oz Revealed: The man behind President Bush.
April 9, 2001 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Oz Revealed: The man behind President Bush. "Under [Karl] Rove's guidance, Bush has unrolled initiatives based on his campaign promises, according to a preconceived schedule with virtually no negotiation or modification. Critics say such unilateral actions will backfire and are not conducive to results."
posted by aladfar (22 comments total)

 
All President's have had their close advisors, but Karl Rove seems to have the Bush presidency carefully scripted - even going so far as to dictate what props will share the stage with the President at press conferences. Am I alone in thinking this is cause for concern?
Note: I post this as an attempt to foster an intelligent discussion, not to promote petty partisan bickering. I believe we've all gotten a bit tired of the latter.
posted by aladfar at 1:15 PM on April 9, 2001


[Am I alone in thinking this is cause for concern? ]

Probabally not. I don't see any justification for concern. It seems that alot of people on the left are confused here.

First they complain that the guy is an idiot, and then they complain that he isn't running the show. You do realize that doesn't make any sense, right? It seems to me that there is a whole lot of complaining for complainings sake.
posted by revbrian at 1:19 PM on April 9, 2001


First they complain that the guy is an idiot, and then they complain that he isn't running the show. You do realize that doesn't make any sense, right?

The problem with this is that the guy who was elected is the idiot not running the show. The people who are running the show are not as directly accountable to the voters as the president is.
posted by andrewraff at 1:21 PM on April 9, 2001


well, it's one thing to have a relatively bumbling but at least vaguely well meaning president, but it's quite another to watch karl rove stick his hand up bush's ass and move his mouth for him, so to speak...
posted by pikachulolita at 1:22 PM on April 9, 2001


Oh gosh, I fear I forgot to close that -1 font size tag in my comment. Everything written since then looks really small. Can you fix this Matt? (And delete this post while your at it?)
posted by aladfar at 1:28 PM on April 9, 2001


Lots of partisan aspersions, still no reasoned answers. Thanks, aladfar for yet another bash Bush (and Karl Rove, by extension) thread. We really needed one, it's been what, three days, four?
posted by Dreama at 1:35 PM on April 9, 2001


First they complain that the guy is an idiot, and then they complain that he isn't running the show. You do realize that doesn't make any sense, right?

What incredibly twisted logic, dear reverend. We should either ignore that our president is an idiot, or we should ignore that the country is being run by his unelected buddies? That's just insane.
posted by jpoulos at 1:37 PM on April 9, 2001


....and thank you for adding nothing to the signal, Dreama.
posted by jpoulos at 1:38 PM on April 9, 2001


I don't mind Bush having good advisors. It's pretty clear that he's the type of leader who's comfortable having very capable and determined people around him, and that's probably a good thing in general. We all want the country run well, right?

The trouble this can lead to comes in two forms, though. First is that all these headstrong people have to be able to defer to the leader in the end. Whether because of ideology, careerism, or other reasons, many such teams have reached points where an internal feud caused problems, and eventually spun someone out on his ass. (See, for example, the instructive case of Don Regan in the Reagan presidency. Things were so bad at that point that they had Sen. Howard Baker agree to be a "peacemaker" chief-of-staff, and he even held a press conference to assure the public that Reagan was not yet senile and doddering.) The other way this can cause trouble is in lack of flexibility. If everyone has a mapped-out agenda, and things are planned meticulously in advance, are the people advising the president also ready and able to respond quickly and appropriately to a random event from outside? Case in point being the present Chinese impasse. As I said in another thread, it seems at moments as though the administration is ticked off because they weren't going to address all these intertwined issues with China until their carefully-chosen moment in, say, Week 17. But events overtook them, and now it's all conflated and they've basically spent an entire week now off-message. Will this affect their effectiveness in the weeks to come? Only time will tell.

Finally, a secondary effect that we see here is that the selection of people like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, and Rove leads to a perception that they are the actors and that Bush is merely a figurehead. He'll have to demonstrate that he really is in charge at some point, which may mean taking the opportunity of a policy dispute to publicly toss somebody out on their ass -- just to show he really is in charge. Certain actions taken with China have indicated that they are very sensitive to this perception; for instance, they were loath to admit that Shrub might be getting advice from his father, even though we all fervently pray that he is indeed doing so. Bush Sr., Cold War Realist point of view aside, is probably one of the most knowledgeable China experts we have.
posted by dhartung at 1:44 PM on April 9, 2001


I am not sure why Bush Daddy is a China expert other than the fact that he headed up the CIA, and if he is getting advice from dad or others, I am not bothered by this either.

Specifically, to answer the question raised: if Rove wants to push through an agenda and Bush wants to go with it, then we must simply wait to see what gets accepted and what does not. Only then can we be in a position to judge.

Incidentally, I think he is getting bad advice on the China deal, as evidenced by how it is being handled, but this is not the thread to discuss this matter and is simply my judgement on this issue.

All presidents have advisors. And writers. But what gets accepted remains finally attibuted to the guy whose name is stamped on it: the president.
posted by Postroad at 2:11 PM on April 9, 2001


I am not sure why Bush Daddy is a China expert other than the fact that he headed up the CIA

well, he also was US Ambassador to China...
posted by andrewraff at 2:38 PM on April 9, 2001


Did people voting for Bush actually believe that he wasn't going to surround himself with advisors who would be the ones in charge? And did the people who didn't vote for Bush hope that Bush would try to do it all himself and thus make a fool of himself? I'm not sure why anyone, on either side of the argument, should be surprised.
posted by owen at 2:41 PM on April 9, 2001


[The people who are running the show are not as directly accountable to the voters as the president is.]

Really? If the voters choose not to re-elect him (which is the only accountability we have) do you really think the next president would keep his advisers around?
posted by revbrian at 2:41 PM on April 9, 2001


[ What incredibly twisted logic, dear reverend. We should either ignore that our president is an idiot, or we should ignore that the country is being run by his unelected buddies? That's just insane.]

Not at all. First, if you truly believe the guy is an idiot then you should be happy he isn't running things.

Second, any voter who votes for a presidential candidate without knowing a good deal about the people (or at least kinds of people) that candidate will appoint is a fool.

I don't care what kind of president we have in the white house, they should be judged on their results. It seems a little early to judge his results. We can guess all we want about what his initiatives will do, we can debate the merits of different courses of actions, but we won't KNOW for years.
posted by revbrian at 2:47 PM on April 9, 2001


Andrewraff: One need not be an expert after serving or in becoming an ambassador these days. Some time ago, when it took much time to cross the sea with messages, you sent someone like Ben Franklin to represent your country and to be in a situation to make decisions on the spot. Now, though, an ambassador is ceremonial.
I have nothing against ex- president Bush. And Ihope he can prove helpful. I would though better trust China experts, academics aware of history and culture.
posted by Postroad at 3:02 PM on April 9, 2001


I don't care what kind of president we have in the white house, they should be judged on their results.

Now, why don't I believe you would have said the same thing a year ago?
posted by jpoulos at 4:52 PM on April 9, 2001


Bush Jr. isn't a person - he's a political brand name.

The entire proposal of his campaign was that he was basically just a nice guy who was going to surround himself with expert Republican advisors.

If you liked that proposal, you probably voted for him; if not, you probably aren't happy he made it into office. But this article is only spelling out the details - we already knew this was how it was going to work.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:07 PM on April 9, 2001


"We can guess all we want about what his initiatives will do, we can debate the merits of different courses of actions, but we won't KNOW for years."

Well, true -- these are just proposals, and we can't say for certain what will happen to them until they're fully in place and results begin to happen.

However, some things are straightforward. His actions for big business will obviously make them more money, and by extension, harm the environment. It's really not up for debate.
posted by jragon at 5:24 PM on April 9, 2001


[The people who are running the show are not as directly accountable to the voters as the president is.]

Really? If the voters choose not to re-elect him (which is the only accountability we have) do you really think the next president would keep his advisers around?


I think it should go the other way around. If these advisers were a part of his braintrust, then Bush should go if they go. After all, they were part of the package we voted for.
posted by retrofut at 5:50 PM on April 9, 2001


The people who are running the show [Rove] are not as directly accountable to the voters as the president is.

He's just as accountable, and in exactly the same way. If the voters don't re-elect this President in 2004, Rove polishes up the resume and calls up some employment agencies.
posted by mikewas at 6:44 PM on April 9, 2001


Look, as much as I hate Shrub, is Rove's function any different from what Dickie Morris did? (although the puppet in Morris' case at least had a brain)
posted by owillis at 8:50 PM on April 9, 2001


[Now, why don't I believe you would have said the same thing a year ago?]

Only you can say for sure why you don't believe it, but if I had to guess - Perhaps you appreciate stereotypes more than most?
posted by revbrian at 5:14 AM on April 10, 2001


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