Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Winning Ugly

There's an interesting article by Robert Novak this week. For those who don't know, Robert Novak outed CIA Agent Valerie Plame and earned for himself the title Douchebag of Liberty. His close relations with the Bush administration, however, may not be what the once were. His latest article talks about the Bush Administrations relations with the Republican controlled Congress, and makes this startling assessment.
A senior Republican senator who avoids the headlines and tries to help President Bush as much as possible two weeks ago was discussing with me the problems of seeking Social Security reform. Then he said something that surprised me: "I have been around a while, and this is the worst administration at congressional relations that I have ever been associated with."

. . . The dirty little secret, however, is that this administration succeeds despite chronic malfunctioning, and this more often than not is a matter of bungled personnel decisions.
Hard to know exactly what this means. Novak does point out that the administration prizes Loyalty to the exclusion of all other qualities, and this isn't the type of loyalty that allows for candid discussion of mistakes. This is more the type of loyalty that fails to acknowledge mistakes in the first place. Demanding this kind of loyalty from Senators and Representatives, many of whom are accomplished and opinionated men with healthy egos, may not be the best approach.

Of course the other question is why is Novak willing to take this shot at the Bush administration? Does he think that the bloom is off (they haven't had the best year so far)? Does he think that the Congress is where the power is going to be? Or is he simply trying to distance himself from the Administration so he can look independent?

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