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Michael Froomkin

I think I have a candidate for 'sole member of administration to emerge enhanced'. See Deconstructing the Cabinet.


Around the blogosphere I often read that Howard Dean should be made secretary of health and human services. I've no doubt that he'd be excellent there. But if there are others who could do equally well in that position, I'd love to see Dean as the chair of the FCC.


I have to wonder slightly wether the appearance of corruption matters more, or the appearance of incompetence. Especially appearances cultivated in places like political blogs, nifty as they are. Most of the public doesn't pay much attention to blogs, currently, nor to cabinet officals, so I guess that balances somewhat.

On the whole, though, I would suspect that in many cases, incompetence matters more than corruption. Especially in this administration, given the hirings of some of Iran-Contra folks, like Admiral Poindexter. Or the ties to various industry groups that, well, pretty much everyone in the administration has. Personnaly, I'd happily say that Cheney's corrupt, but it obviously hasn't mattered enough to take him out. Yet, anyway. So, I guess my main point is, does corruption matter? Not from the point of public policy, where it obviously does, but is it possible in the current political climate for corruption to matter enough in Washington to make someone lose their job? Or am I just being too cynical, based on the massive failings of this administration?


Powell, his father, everyone in the Defense, State and Justice Departments, the White House staff, Treasury, OMB, HHS, the independent agencies like the FCC


paul teske

Right on re Michael Powell. While the media concentration issue is no doubt the more important, Powell also screwed up royally on getting critical rules moving forward for competitive interconnection to local telephone networks. This is a highly arcane and controversial economic topic, but, at its heart is whether and how competitors, like AT&T and newer firms, to Verizon and other Baby Bells can provide local services, and especially bundled services, to achieve the full fruits of real competition in this industry. This process has dragged on for more than a decade and the incumbants still hold most of the market share. The FCC faced pressure from all of these interests, plus CATV, and the states and the courts have also been greatly involved, but the bottom line is that Powell, as the central actor, showed no vision beyond vapid notions of "deregulation" and left this still quite a mess, probably for judges to sort out.

Angry Bear

"First, can anyone think of a single mildly prominent official of the Bush administration who will emerge from this with an improved reputation, whether for competence or character?"

Two come to mind, though you could certainly question whether they are "moderately prominent."

First is Tim Muris, who until recently headed the FTC. By all accounts I've heard, he did a pretty good, and apolitical, job.

The second is Mark McClellan (Scott's brother) as FDA head. The FDA's job is basically to process New Drgu Approvalsefficiently while ensuring the process is as safe as possible. Under McClellan, it did so (continuing a trend of faster reviews that began in the 1990s).

Until ... McClellan got caught up in the politics of the OTC morning after pill and moved over to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). So his reputation took a hit in that instance, but is on balance still strong (and I'm not sure what he could have done about it -- if the president or his advisors orders the FDA head not to approve something, it seems like he has little choice but to do so or resign.) At CMS, his reputation may be in jeopardy because he's in charge of rolling out the insanely designed Medicare drug benefit. So we'll see how he comes out. After all, how do you evaluate whether someone has done a good job of implementing a bad program?



"First, can anyone think of a single mildly prominent official of the Bush administration who will emerge from this with an improved reputation, whether for competence or character?"

Anthony Principi, the secretary of Veterans
Affairs will manage to crawl out of the dung heap that is the Bush administration stench free.


Well, Condi Rice, depending on your world view.

Do political advisers count? Since on how the Presidential and Congressional elections shake out, Karl Rove will have a good reputation.

Mel Martinez probably hasn't done any harm.



Jonathan Dresner

Christie Todd Whitman, EPA.

She did her job, as best she could, and got done a lot of what the Republicans wanted. Then she decided she'd had enough and got out, which makes her look good to normal people.


Mel Martinez thinks he's done well enough to run for the Senate.

Tommy Thompson, in spite of the lamest name ever, should have had a chance to come out of this well, but at the very least Scully's taint will be on him and he'll be guilty by implication in the Medicare pharma sellout. Thompson has been doing some really interesting things administratively, like investing in disease management and new contracting practices that could have been a good legacy. His biggest contribution was protecting moderate Dems working under the radar at CMS on these projects. If he'd had a competent president, he might have been able to let more good stuff happen. If he'd had a president who was willing to give him money, he may even have moved us ahead in some nonpartisan areas where Dems are willing to play (like healthcare IT).

But his legacy will be the boondoggle of the Medicare drug deal, his ineffectual bloviating during the Anthrax attack and his failures to deal with several looming crises (out of control healthcare spending, Hepatitis C, the demographic time bomb of the elderly baby boomers, etc.).

Andrew Spark

In my view the health care system of a nation reflect its socio-economics and cultural standards.

lisa tucker

Wedding coordinators and day planners that are based in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Sedona. Serving all areas of Arizona.

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