More people than usual are concerned about the quality of the administrational work done by elected officials these days. Domestic German examples abound and include the recent scandal surrounding the „world’s most advanced vehicle toll system“, which is so advanced it has to be protected by not deploying it; and, of course, by a 1700-pages contract that, with hindsight, should alarm Brussels because, to me, it looks like a bad example of how to grant hidden subventions to national industrial champions.
In the US, on top of all the credibility problems, the administration has to fight different, but equally embarrassing issues of quality management. With regard to the story of the day, a voodoo finance concept to save the (also demographically challenged) US social security (pension) system, Matthew Yglesias claims that the problem is inherent, that this Presidency is all about abiguity.
Note that the president’s habit of proposing not actual legislation, but rather vague „principles“ that tell no one anything about anything is quite systemic. … People on the Hill have literally no idea what the president thinks about this or, really, any other issue. Apparently the White House staff doesn’t know either – the speechwriters just write stuff and the president says it and no one knows what anyone’s talking about.
I’ve always said that too many people are probably underestimating Mr Bush. And maybe that is still correct. But, then again, „maybe“ may not be sufficient with respect to defining the political guidelines of the most important polity on the planet.
Let me invite you to the White House oval office for some first hand, apparently only slightly edited streaming evidence, provided by President Bush himself. It’s a document that is, in my opinion, rather illuminating about the character of his presidency. It is oscillating between moments of rather informed historic comment, Cowboy paintings and marvel Bushisms. It seems that indeed, the ambiguity we can witness on tv each day is not simply in policies or PR.
Seriously, what is one to think of a President who can in one moment rather precisely explain historical details and in the next moment go on to state that „these windows are magnificient – they let in the sunlight…“ – in this strangely clumsy manner we had to witness so many times.
Well, I don’t know.