Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Ron Suskind pyschoanalyzes the Cabinet appointments

Whatever the roots of Mr. Bush's overriding devotion to loyalty, it partly stems from his disdain for the concerns of old-style meritocrats, the kind of people who wince when the president places his confidence in someone like Mr. Kerik. Mr. Bush has never been comfortable in America's so-called meritocracy. Undistinguished in college, business school and in the private sector, he spent nearly 30 years sitting in seminar rooms and corporate suites while experts and high achievers held forth.Now it appears that he's having his revenge - speaking loudly in his wave of second-term cabinet nominations for a kind of anti-meritocracy: the idea that anyone, properly encouraged and supported, can do a thoroughly adequate job, even better than adequate, in almost any endeavor.It's an empowering, populist idea - especially for those who, for whatever reason, have felt wrongly excluded or disrespected - that is embodied in the story of Mr. Bush himself: a man with virtually no experience in foreign affairs or national domestic policy who has been a uniquely forceful innovator in both realms.History will judge whether his actions are visionary or reckless. In the meantime, he is applying his intensely personal method for judging merit to pick a group of largely no-name cabinet officials for his triumphal second term.

This seems spot-on to me. And, sadly, Bush was, at least in one sense correct. It took a whiz kind like Robert McNamara to give us the first Vietnam, but Bush's crew of mediocrites managed to give us the second without working up a sweat.


Blogger Lorna said...

I never know whether to laugh or cry when I read your stuff, but mostly, I cry, and I don't even live in the States. thanks---I need a solid dose of left, just to keep me sane.

7:09 PM  

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