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June 19, 2004

The Devil I Know

Drezner has an excellent suggestion, which is that Bush 43 not wait until November to change up his White House. He suggests a new Cabinet. That he hasn't shaken up any departments according to any philosophy other than blind loyalty strongly suggests to me that he was a man of few ideas going into the White House, and that he see it as merely a scaled-up Governor's mansion. In my estimation, GWBush is hanging on to mediocrity with a deathgrip and is starting to appear like a one-hit wonder.

I disagree with Drezner that Powell is not a good Sec'y of State. But I guess I cannot get the idea out of my head that in the runup to the shooting in Iraq, French diplomats were singing his praises. Then again, I guess that's why Bush has kicked him to the virtual curb.

That Drezner's is such a good idea underscores the fact that GWBush hasn't had it. So I think this is as good a time as any to summarize my gripe with his White House.

I am inclined to believe that the political nature of this Administration is extreme with regards to authoritarianism. They are intolerant of dissent, secretive, defensive and their rationale tends to be expeditious. In short, they have a bunker mentality. I think that they have been unable to get over the profound shock of the nine-eleven attacks. Once their constitutions allowed them to, they were politically unwilling to give up the authority it gave them. They have applied this state of mind to a war and occupation which required a more comprehensive evaluation than they were willing to undertake which has had grave political consequences. They have undermined the State Department, bullied the Intelligence services and abused the Pentagon. The White House is at war with the war making branches of the Executive and for all intents and purposes disengaged with the other parts of the Cabinet.

Posted by mbowen at June 19, 2004 08:41 AM

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Secretary Powell has only been a fair Secretary of State. My major critique of him is that he hasn't utilized U.S. embassies to spread America's message, especially in Europe. Why are they sitting on their asses, and not out in the media talking up our case? Or meeting with local business leaders, key policy shapers in the country they're in, etc.? That has been a BIG gap over at State.

Condoleezza Rice should've been Secretary of State, and Colin Powell the Secretary of Defense. State plays much better to Condi's strength (speaks 4 languages, explainer-in-chief skills, more aggressive than Powell in getting out the administration's message) than does National Security Advisor. Hindsight is 20/20, but we should've had a Middle East expert in that position.

Posted by: molotov at June 19, 2004 10:37 AM

As easy as it is for muddleheaded Americans to forget that this is a great country, it's even easier for those who don't know us or this place. So it comes as no surprise that a well-mderated diplomatic message from the State Department isn't effective in this era of the War on Terror and Iraqi Occupation.

Colin Powell couldn't stop you or me from getting stoned by a mob anywhere on the planet.

Posted by: Cobb at June 19, 2004 01:52 PM