The Triumph of Loyalty Over Competence: The Bush Administration and the Exhaustion of the Politicized Presidency
Donald P. Moynihan
University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Alasdair S. Roberts
University of Missouri at Columbia - Truman School of Public Affairs
May 15, 2009
La Follette School of Public Affairs Working Paper Series No. 2008-024
Suffolk University Law School Research Paper 09-17
Public Administration Review, Forthcoming
The most important administrative aspect of the George W. Bush presidency was not its formal management reform agenda, but its attempt to extend the politicized presidency. Efforts to assert tighter political control of the federal bureaucracy, revived during the Reagan administration, was pushed to an extreme under Bush. Loyalty routinely triumphed competence in selection, and rationality was often displaced by political goals in decision-making. But the strategy of politicization undermined the Bush administration's own policy goals as well as its broader project to restore the institution of the Presidency. The profound failure of this strategy may signal a reconsideration of the politicized presidency.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 33
Keywords: President Bush, management, Iraq, Katrina, political appointees, politicization, presidency
JEL Classification: D73
Date posted: December 17, 2008 ; Last revised: November 20, 2009
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