Sunday, February 21, 2010

Is Obama's White House Like Bartlet's? Here's Why That Would Be Bad

The left wants Emanuel out, and I think we're probably mostly correct.

What's wrong with the White House is spelled out in this piece by Edward Luce of the Financial Times. He paints a picture of an administration controlled to a strong extent by four key staff -- Axelrod, Gibbs, Emanuel and Jarrett. It is the political team, not the policy experts, who ultimately make the decisions.

We already knew this, but Luce spells it out in more detail. For example, his sources say that on the China trip, it was this team that was by Obama's side throughout -- not the people from State or NSC or whatever who actually go to work each day and do our China policy.

Cabinet secretaries are, in many cases, left with surprisingly little power. Now, not wanting Ken Salazar to go on TV, that I can understand. But we're talking about whole agencies being effectively micro-managed by a small political team.

Does this all sound familiar?

Yeah, you could say the Bush Administration had power concentrated in a small group of people, but even many of those villians (Rumsfeld, etc) were at least public figures at the agencies, slightly more scrutinizable (can you remember Bush's two chiefs-of-staff off the top of your head? Didn't think so. Not overly important figures).

What this really reminds me of is more the Bartlet Administration. In that case, the decisions were made by a small political team in the White House, presumably because it made good TV. It wouldn't work to try to show the cabinet secretaries more, because that'd be less time with Josh and CJ and crew, who are the main characters.

But back to real life. If the Obama Administration really is run this way, it's not good. I mean, it'd be one thing if the political team were making the right decisions, but it really seems they aren't even doing that.


At 5:29 PM, Blogger ertzeid said...

Uugggggg WTF Obama?

Dude needs to knuckle down and get things done. I really don't want our first Democratic president in 8 years to be a crappy one. And I'm beginning to lose hope.

Basically, if he can't get health care through, it looks really bad for Obama and for the Democratic party. And if he's having trouble with policymaking because he's listening to PR people instead of policy people, them I'm seriously angry.


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