Wednesday, February 06, 2008

mayberry machiavellis? I love it!

I only have a minute to post. I'm hopefully working a half day today. Like you care. So this guy John DiIulio was on fresh air the other day. He was the first head of Bush's office of faith-based initiatives (similar to his office of hope-based initiatives)-an office which I fervently pray (ha) will be promptly dismantled by the next president. Anyway, this guy seems cool. He's a democrat, he was constantly fighting to give many to many different religious groups, not just evangelicals, etc. Also, he gave one of the most awesome quotes yet about the Bush white house. It got him in some real hot water, but he pretty much stands by it today.

"there is no precedent in any modern White House forwhat is going on in this one: complete lack of a policy apparatus. Besides the tax cut, which was cut and dried during the campaign, and the education bill, which was really a Ted Kennedy bill, the administration has not done much, either in absolute terms or in comparison to previous administrationsat this stage, on domestic policy. What you've got is everything, and I mean everything, being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis. [They] consistently talked and acted as if the height of political sophistication consisted in reducing every issue to its simplest black-and-white terms for public consumption, then steering legislative initiatives or policy proposals as far right as possible." The former White House director confides, "I heard many, many staff discussions but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions. There were no actual policy papers on domestic issues. There were, truth be told, only a couple of people in the West Wing who worried at all about policy substance and analysis ... Every modern presidency moves on the fly, but on social policy and related issues, the lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking: discussions by fairly senior people who meant Medicaid but were talking Medicare;near-instant shifts from discussing any actual policy pros and cons to discussing political communications, media strategy, et cetera ." DiIuliogoes on to tell us that "the remarkably slapdash character of the Office of Homeland Security, with the nine months of arguing that no department was needed, with the sudden, politically timed reversal in June ..."


Jeff M. said...

Just for the politically correct record, John DiIulio is not a cool guy from a liberal perspective. For instance, he started the Super-Predators Youth meme that painted inner city youth as a bunch of lord-of-the-flies murderers whom "we" needed to put into prison ASAP. Here's a pdf, if anybody is interested.

I want to listen to that Fresh Air, then maybe I'll get your point about him seeming like a cool guy.

fft said...

I'm not really surprised about the executive branch lacking substantive policy analysis and instead trying to steer the ideology of the nation. I mean, that's what you can do and only do with unbridled executive power, so why dilly dally with the nuts and bolts of policy when you can paint broader strokes that will have a longstanding impact on the pulse of the nation. Cheney is a master at this; too bad progressives are not.

That said, politics is WHACK.

smitty said...

Why he's right! That's why I put in my notice at Department of Homeland Security. No, not really.

I actually put in notice because my motorcycle is fixed and I'm heading to India in April to start Round 2.

Well, that and I got sick of the job. Lasted longer than I thought and if I could've landed a job digging ditches in West Sac, I would've left months ago.

beckler said...

I don't think he's cool, he headed up an office that I am outraged even exists, however, he's pretty cool for a guy with that job.

Anonymous said...

Not having heard the fresh air segment, he comes off like the rest of the former Bush-Cheney stooges who are now telling what they know: Cowardly. Fishing for kudos for doing years later what they should have done at the time. Fuck 'em very much.