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April 11, 2007


Who in their right mind would take this job? The President is a moron who demands absolute loyalty. He's also completely disengaged and doesn't care about details. The war was a bad idea that was badly implemented. Likewise, the escalation was a bad idea that is being badly implemented. The problem isn't middle management. The problem is that the CEO is trying to do something that's really stupid, and he can't even be bothered to tell his underlings exactly how he wants it done.

i have a different take... what this demonstrates to me is simply one more effort to politicize every executive branch agency and force submission to centralized political control, and meghan o'sullivan's departure was the perfect opportunity...

sounding a different note on the same theme, so many, including yourself, are very quick to put all bushco actions into the frame of incompetence and mismanagement... while some of them are undoubtedly that, a great many more, i believe, are carefully orchestrated to continue the consolidation of executive/political power and the creation of an authoritarian, one-party state... i also believe that many perceived bushco "failures" were deliberately intended to be just that - failures... nothing serves the purposes of this administration less than a goverment that is working effectively... perhaps the "war czar" move is the flailing of genuine failure and incompetence, but, my cynicism and 6+ years of observation cannot rule out the other two...


My fear is the breakdown of our Messianic King, whose brittle inflexibility still seems to operate on some Bush doctrine of infallibility. He hasn't crossed over yet, but a Mushareff style
coup is possible.

My initial thought was this slot shouldn't be called "czar" but "designated fall guy" or "scapegoat."

Agreed. It's also that Cheney has had too much power wrt national security issues; Hadley, in fact, is not his own person--he's a Cheney plant within the NSC. So the whole management of national security is screwed up. Plus of course GWB couldn't manage an oil company or a baseball team. Why would anyone except him to manage one of the biggest gummints in the world? Then we have the whole conservative philosophy undermining everything: less gummint is better; less effective gummint is even better; less gummint means less oversight for big bidness.

I remember reading an interview with Al Gore in the N Yorker about a year after the 2000 election. He basically predicted what would happen: that GWB and his cronies would destroy our country. We've got to act fast and cripple the Bushies as soon as possible, or it will take a decade to restore our country after the mess they have made.

One bit of good news: the Mormons at Brigham Young University are protesting Cheney's upcoming graduation speech.

This reminds me of the old corp dodge to avoid inventory tax by loading inventory onto the rails - as long as it's rolling we can't be taxed!

Note to MSM, IT'S THE POLICIES STUPID! Stop following the bouncing balls of people.


Yeah, I was thinking of Cheney when I wrote this. When they report on the ever-new "Czar of teh day," they always describe the problem to be a conflict between Defense and State.

Who are we kidding?

It's that Cheney undermines everything that Bush buys off on that he, Cheney, doesn't like.

to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies

I thought this was Shrub's job. Isn't that what he keeps telling us?

Being "War Czar" used to be the job of the President, his Sec'y of Defense, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Now it's vacant? Is this Mr. Bush hiding his incompetence again, or is he just pushing more outsourcing? If so, why hasn't Erik Prince and his Hessian Blackwater Group accepted another highly paid task? Maybe I missed the memo where it said the whole purpose of outsourcing was to take the loot without taking responsibility for whatever happens next.

You know, I keep reading this over and over, and I'm starting to think that the big issue isn't O'Sullivan and Hadley. It's Gates. Is there any chance that Junior is just trying to get someone to undermine the new babysitter that his father sent to watch him?

Your last comment nails it, 'wheel. The problem is Cheney. He engineered himself to be VP because he realized that with his unlikeable personality and disdain for kissing up to donors he would never be elected Prez. But then he began arrogating power to himself and began running things as if her were Prez, with his pal Rummy.

Bush can't stand up to Cheney, who undercuts him every time he disagrees with Bush. Condi couldn't. She and Gates can sometimes maneuver around him, but it must be exhausting. Hadley is really no better than Rice, and lacks her bond with Bush.

What a colossal mess. If Cheney starts WWIII over Iran maybe that will do it, but who knows. Bush is stuck with the team he chose. They have to be impeached together, if the holy blood clot doesn't come soon.

Today's paper says Pelosi and Lantos want to go to Iran, or at least talk to Ahmaninejad. Maybe that will send Cheney into a frenzy.

The gods help us all.

We do have a 'War Czar', he's called the commander-in-chief. But once again the solution of the Party of reducing government becomes the augmenting of government.
And, what's with this Czar imagery anyway. It is the russian word for emperor, and derives from the Gothic kaisar that comes form the latin Caesar. It is not appropriate imagery for a democracy, but in a pseudo-christian worrior state all things become possible.

It's that Bush himself can't see the issue with the requisite clarity to empower his National Security Advisor to do the job well.

This is a much smarter take than the more predictable one making the rounds in the left blogosphere, that Bush himself is supposed to be the one in the position he is looking to fill with a czar (which was my first reaction too, to be honest). You're right that the czar role should be obviated by the National Security Advisor, and the two we've had with Bush have been extraordinarily weak and inept. And you're right that Bush's specific failure is the failure to put people with requisite power and leverage, or to give it to them, in the NSA position. Nice.

Given all that, it's just so telling to me that Keane of all people has evidently turned down the job. Even he knows there's no glory and likely no success in it.

Since when is it the National Security Advisor's job to give orders tell DOD and State and whoever else what to do in running a war or an occupation? Shouldn't that be the President's job? Isn't the advisor's job to advise?

I think that the Preznit has, with this, admitted complete inability to do the job he's being well-paid to do. Impeachment time!

My headline:

"Bush admits incompetence;
Nation responds: 'Ya think?'"

Today's Times has a piece about how the Republicans don't have any "exciting" candidates across the country. How much longer will the malaise that is gripping the Republican Party last before they figure out that impeaching Cheney might solve many of their (and the country's) problems? Jimmy Baker, are you reading this? It wouldn't take much more than empowering Waxman a bit; EW has shown us that Cheney is guilty of treason.

Speaking of people who know a little about management, how's this for buyer's remorse (or maybe seller's remorse, since he's hawking a book)

Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.”

Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I’ll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

And I meant that a bit sarcastically, since some have seriously questioned his management skills.

This has been a fascinating article. Look at why Marine General Jack Sheehan turned the "War Czar" job down:

The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going," said retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job. Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. "So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,' " he said.
They want a Czar to pull things together, but they don't know what they want him to do, and Cheney is always in the background to sabotage any effort he deems insufficiently hawkish.

In the triumverate of Bush/Cheney/Rove, we have Bush who is an incompetent but passive figurehead and speechmaker, Cheney who is a nasty bureaucratic politician running war and intelligence without any clue regarding what he wants or how to do it, and Rove who is a very competent political strategist and little else. None of them understands themselves or each other, there is no one to coordinate them, and none of them listen to criticism, disagreement or even to reasonable alternative courses of action.

This "War Czar" thing is just a microcosm of the entire administration. They can't decide what to do, they wouldn't know how to get government to do something if they could decide, and then Cheney will sabotage anything they try. Oh, and they hold their positions thanks to the Fundamentalist Christian Dominionist movement that wants to destroy American democracy and replace it with a theocracy in a manner much like the Islamic fundamentalists who want to erase the last thousand years of history and return to a militant theocracy.

It's sort of a three-way "Odd couple" with guns and aircraft carrier groups and totally absent any humor. Historians studying the Bush administration will need a good grounding in abnormal psychology as well as social psychology before they begin to understand what is happening.

RickB, how about we bring the tropps home and leave those three with no war to mismanage. Better yet, bring the troops home and send those three to the Hague. That way they won't be able to mismanage anything (except their own defenses in court).

P J,
What's involved for the U.S. to ratify an international treaty that has already been signed by a president? Would it take a 2/3 majority in the Senate to ratify the Rome Statute?

I imagine that the spouses/family of our leaders are feeling like they could be stuck between a rock and a hard place. Even if they wanted to say something, how can they? they know far better than us what those people are really capable of.
Which is what I was thinking when I read this.

According to NPR (they had a blurb about the author) the book that Laura Bush chose to read to the children at the Easter Egg thingy was the story of a duck who thought he would like to be president. The duck won the election after a recount, but he found the job much harder than he thought it would be. He decided it wasn't really fun being president and it gave him headaches, so he handed everything over to his VP and went back to his farm.

I'm seeing another issue here.

Decades ago, I stepped down from a management position at a certain company. I was supervising 19 drafters, training them, scheduling millions and millions of dollars worth of projects, checking the jobs, etc.. The extremely old-fashioned company wouldn't give me the title or the pay to go with the responsibilities. They replaced me with 2 men, giving one of them the title. He stepped down a few weeks later, and they divided my duties among THREE men, paying all 3 of them more than they had paid me. I quit the company soon after.

This woman will be replaced by a man who gets the title and authority, and probably the money, which goes with the responsibilities. The fact that nobody is willing to step into the job means that they will probably have to divide it up to make it palatable.

FWIW, I don't see how anybody sane would want to take the albatross from Bush's neck. He's "The Deciderer-in-Chief". Why would anybody want to bloody their hands with his wars?


I totally agree that we should bring the troops home in as short a time as possible. Even as that is being done, both Bush and Cheney should be impeached and removed from office - except that the Republican true-believers (and Lieberman) in the Senate will save their asses.

In the meantime, as a student of management I have over the years seen a number of badly mismanaged organizations, but never anything on this scale. It is like watching a slow, endless train wreck. There is, of course, the horror that it is happening at all, but for some reason I cannot look away. It just keeps on happening, with (figurative) train car after train car piling up on each other to be crushed and bent by those following it, with no end in sight.

I'm afraid that my comment above is rather in the vein of a statement like "Oh, my God! Look at the strange pretzel THAT set of cars is becoming!" I am from Texas. I knew in 1994 that even for the strange characters thrown up by the Texas Republican Party, Bush was in a class by himself. I am also a pessimist in terms of politics, again perhaps because I have watched Texas politics for so long. I expect Republicans and conservatives to be political disasters, and they don't fail me. But the Bush administration has performed well beyond and below all reasonable and most unreasonable expectations. And they continue to delve the depths in their twisted, sick efforts to remake America in the model they want.

So I try to analyze how they have gone so far off the rails. The alternative would be just to keep saying "Oh, my God, no. Not that too." over and over again.

You know, like the report that came out today that the RNC has 'accidently' mishandled the emails they were processing for Karl Rove and the other top White House aides outside the archivable records of the official White House email. Gee, how sad, an unknown number of the emails have been lost. (AP (via TPM)) I'm sure no one here is surprised that these records have been 'lost.' The only real element of surprise here was in when the report of their loss would be made public.

[And another rail car appears over the hill and smashes into the wreck already on the tracks. The train in this wreck seems quite endless.]

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