The Triumph of The Hacks

Dana Milbank and Jonathan Weisman covered little new ground, but they did pen a great overview of how and why policy-making — domestic and foreign — is so consistently wrong in this administration:

… Bush has also discouraged the sort of free-wheeling policy debates that characterized previous administrations, and he relies on a top-down management style that has little use for “wonks” in the federal bureaucracy. At the same time, many of the top domestic policy experts in the Bush White House have moved on to other jobs; in many cases they have been replaced by subordinates with much less experience in governing.

Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist with the National Center for Policy Analysis, said policy ideas typically bubble up from experts deep inside federal agencies, who put together working groups, draft white papers, sell their wares in the marketplace of ideas and hope White House officials act on their suggestions. In this case, ideas are hatched in the White House, for political or ideological reasons, then are thrust on the bureaucracy, “not for analysis, but for sale,” Bartlett said.

‘The Triumph of the Hacks’

The result is a White House that has become unimaginative with domestic policy and, in foreign policy, has struggled to develop new policies to adapt to changing circumstances in Iraq, according to several conservatives…


P.S. In other news,

the cost of the war in Iraq could top $150 billion through the next fiscal year – as much as three times what the White House had originally estimated. And, according to congressional researchers and outside budget experts, the war and continuing occupation could total $300 billion over the next decade, making this one of the costliest military campaigns in modern times.