Friday, November 19, 2004
The C.E.O. As President
Here's a good article by Fed Barnes in the Weekly Standard; -Wb
In the new issue of The Weekly Standard:
-Fred Barnes on Bush's second term:
President Bush always believed he would be reelected. So in the weeks before November 2, he repeatedly discussed with White House aides who should replace the departing Cabinet members in his second term. And decisions were made, pre-Election Day. Alberto Gonzales, the president's legal counsel, would succeed John Ashcroft as attorney general, and Margaret Spellings, chief White House domestic adviser, would take over for Rod Paige as education secretary. Another decision: Those planning to leave the administration at their leisure over the coming months would be asked to depart immediately. When Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Bush on November 11, he requested to stay a few extra months to tie up loose ends at the State Department. Bush said no, and Powell's resignation was announced last Monday. The next day, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was named as Powell's successor. If anyone thought the president would relax after an arduous campaign--I certainly did--they were wrong. The three prior presidents to win reelection (Nixon, Reagan, Clinton) had relatively skimpy plans for their second terms, but Bush has a breathtakingly ambitious agenda. To achieve it, he wants full control over his administration. He wants Cabinet members whom he knows and trusts. Thus, what an official calls "the Gonzales model" of dispatching White House aides or other loyalists to take over key agencies is being followed. The president also believes the new Cabinet officers should be installed as quickly as possible. That way they'll be ready early next year for expected struggles with Congress, recalcitrant federal bureaucracies, and opponents of America and of Bush's drive for democracy around the world.
The president hasn't listed his priorities for 2005, but it's not difficult to figure them out. Winning the war in Iraq and the battle against terrorists is number one. The second priority, given the likelihood of as many as three or four Supreme Court vacancies, is gaining Senate confirmation of conservative justices. Number three: Social Security reform. A bill is now being drafted at the White House to create individual investment accounts and to produce savings aimed at keeping the Social Security system from insolvency. Four, tax reform. Five, tort reform. Six, an energy bill that increases domestic oil and gas production. The list goes on . . .
Log on to weeklystandard.com on Saturday, November 20, to read the rest.