Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Cabinet of Incuriosities

The Cabinet of Incuriosities
Published: December 28, 2004
AS President Bush remakes his administration for his second term, the most important member of his new cabinet may turn out to be the one he was unwilling - or unable - to replace: Treasury Secretary John Snow.
In some ways, Mr. Snow was the first selection of this new cabinet, just now settling into its full ensemble. Mr. Snow's prenuptial agreement, when he replaced the obstreperous Paul O'Neill two years ago, is similar to the ones his newly arrived (or at least newly promoted) second-term colleagues have just signed: all policies come from the White House. Read the script with ardor and good cheer.
As Mr. Bush learned in his first term, this is a difficult agreement for some of America's most accomplished people to sign. They may be publicly hailed for their innovation and decisiveness, but those qualities are rarely demanded in their cabinet jobs. Consequently, cabinet members often feel like imposters. This president's mission is to tame the unwieldy federal bureaucracy, not empower it.....