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You think Craig is sick? Bush's loyalty fetish is *sicker.*

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(This post has nothing to do with Larry Craig, except that he's an American and as such is just as harmed by Bush's mental health problem as the rest of us.)

This is from John Dickerson at /


As a broader management practice, though, Bush has made a fetish of loyalty even when unaccompanied by ability. He saw how disloyal aides undercut his father. To win loyalty, Bush shows it. He also delights in riling his opponents and the Washington elites. If the "hand-wringers" and "second-guessers" wanted Gonzales out, that was even more reason to dig in his heels. Bush once said in an interview that he liked to lean forward a little during his State of the Union speeches when he knew what he was about to say would rile Democrats.

Bush also feels the essence of virtue is resisting any public outcry. He does this for public as well as internal purposes. "A president has got to be the calcium in the backbone," Bush told author Bob Woodward. "If I weaken, the whole team weakens. If I'm doubtful, I can assure you there will be a lot of doubt." Most famously Bush did this with FEMA Administrator Michael Brown, declaring that he'd done a "heck of a job" during the early days after Katrina. More glaring, though, was his consistent defense of Gonzales. In April, only moments after Gonzales gave a spectacularly inept and dishonest performance before the Senate judiciary committee, Bush said his confidence in Gonzales had increased.

The personnel failures make it very hard for Bush fans to defend the president because they so deeply undermine the tenets of his management style as he articulates it. Bush has often talked in almost mystical terms about his ability to take the measure of people by looking them in the eye. His most infamous snap judgment, early in his first term, was peeking into the soul of Vladimir Putin and finding goodness. But even with years of presidential experience, he continues to make terrible judgments about the aptitudes of his own staffers. Harriet Miers and Alberto Gonzales may be very nice people, but they were never competent for the jobs Bush wanted them to have.

In talking about the skills necessary for any president, Bush has almost always focused on personnel first. "If I were interviewing a guy for the job of president," he said when I interviewed him for Time in August 2004, "I'd ask, How do you make decisions? How would you get unfiltered information? Would you surround yourself with hacks? Are you scared of smart people? I've seen the effect of the Oval Office on people. People are prepared to come in and speak their minds, and then they get in there, and the place overwhelms them, and they say, 'Gee, Mr. President, you're looking good.' I need people who can walk in and say, 'Hey, you're not looking so great today.' "

This kind of talk thrilled Bush supporters, but the president has never exercised the kind of emotion-free decision-making he bragged about. When it came to personnel decisions, his personal sense of loyalty, his hostility to the Beltway establishment, and his stubbornness all clouded his judgment. Tolerating incompetence has harmed Bush in any number of ways. The worst of these is locking in the idea that he's oblivious to reality.
'There are three sides to every story. My side, your side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each one differently' -Robert Evans-
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I read that this morning. He gives new meaning to the word "cronyism".
Hey Dottie! Did your colleagues enjoy the cake even though your cat decided to sit on it? ~GuyfromGermany
Broadway Legend
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Bush has made a fetish of loyalty even when unaccompanied by ability.

Quote of the DECADE!
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