November 28, 2004


What Is a Cabinet For?: To serve at the pleasure of the president, not to constrain him. (BRET STEPHENS, November 29, 2004 , Wall Street Journal)

George W. Bush is accused of burying cabinet government for good with his appointments of close confidantes Rice, Alberto Gonzales and Margaret Spellings. Nonsense. Contrary to Andrew Sullivan, a cabinet is not something a president governs with; and contrary to Andrew Jackson, it is not something a president governs around. Ideally, a cabinet is what a president governs through. Now that Mr. Bush has moved his own people into the cabinet, he may at last be able to do just that.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 28, 2004 11:30 PM

If Bush is "at last" able to do that... why on Earth didn't he do it earlier? Who was stopping him?

Posted by: creeper at November 29, 2004 4:19 AM

Cabinets are often apportioned with an eye to repaying political debts or to enhance re-election prospects. Hence, the presence of General Disaster at State.

Posted by: Bart at November 29, 2004 5:27 AM

Interesting point. Would Condi Rice as Secretary of State have reduced Bush's re-election chances?

Posted by: creeper at November 29, 2004 5:55 AM

The use of Powell gave Bush cover with the limpwrists inside the Beltway and those who actually listen to them. Think about how loud Quislings like Chuck Hagel were during the election and think how loud they would be were Powell not there to placate them.

Posted by: Bart at November 29, 2004 6:12 AM

Whatever you think about him, Bart, there is little evidence that Powell has been anything other than a good soldier (or, better, good cop) helping the President get where he wanted to go. If the rumors about infighting between Powell and Rumsfeld, et al., are true, than his service is even more impressive.

Posted by: David Cohen at November 29, 2004 9:03 AM