How can this be a story? Isn’t being a cabinet secretary an extention of the power of the president? They are appointed by the President to carry out the admininstrations policies, not be lords over their own fiefdom.
President Bush is requiring Cabinet members to spend several hours a week at the White House compound, a move top aides say eases coordination with government agencies but one seen by some analysts as fresh evidence of the White House’s tightening grip over administration policy.
Under a directive instituted by Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. at the start of Bush’s second term, Cabinet secretaries spend as many as four hours a week working out of an office suite set up for them at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House. There, they meet with presidential policy and communications aides in an effort to better coordinate the administration’s initiatives and messages.
You would think that this would be a good thing. No ambiguity of message. You do not want the Treasury Secretary and the Health and Human Services Secretary sending out different messages as typically was the case in the first term and prior administrations. The population and the markets appreciate consistancy, right or wrong.
Then you have this gem;
Paul C. Light, a professor of public service at New York University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, sees its purpose differently. “This administration has been very conscious in the second term of the need to control what happens in Cabinet agencies and to make sure Cabinet officers don’t get too far out there,” he said. “I find it absolutely shocking that they would have regular office hours at the White House. It confirms how little the domestic Cabinet secretaries have to do with making policy.”
As if being a cabinet secretary is the arbiter of policy? This is why they shed titles such as Lord when they created these positions. It is not rocket science, the secretaries carry out the policies of the president. I bet ol’ Paul Light has tenure and his understanding of public policy justifies the nice tuition being spent for him to teach our children.
White House aides with strong ties to Bush also have been placed in strategic sub-Cabinet jobs. Bush also has nominated former White House counselor Karen P. Hughes and Dina Powell, who headed presidential personnel during his first term, to top jobs at the State Department, where they will work on repairing the nation’s image in the Muslim world.
In at least one case, a key appointment was made despite the contrary wishes of an agency head. New Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, former head of the Kellogg Co., was set to bring in a longtime vice president, George A. Franklin, to be a senior adviser. But the White House scuttled that plan after officials learned that Franklin had made a $500 contribution to the presidential campaign of Democrat John F. Kerry, an administration source said. Later, White House deputy press secretary Claire Buchan was named Gutierrez’s chief of staff.
How is this a story. If you want an effective government, you actively seek out people who have supported your opponent?Could you imagine the outcry, Madeline Albright going to President Clinton asking to have George Shultz as an assistant Secretary of State. C’Mon folks, lets get real. With the problem of leaks and getting bureaucracies to follow the line, it is hard enough to get a policy initiated and enforced within the ranks. If you send the message that you do not have to follow the present governments positions and policies because you do not believe them, what will you have.
You guessed it, The STATE DEPARTMENT.