Saturday, May 23, 2015

Presidential Management and Sidney Blumenthal

Some styles of presidential management:

Eisenhower, very structured, staffed, bureaucratic.

Carter, less structured, very micro-managed,

FDR, intentionally unstructured, free-flowing.

Back when I was in college, Ike was dismissed as too old and dated.  FDR was defended for intentionally creating conflict in his administration, and making effective use of Eleanor to  gain information from outside formal channels. (Carter was running the peanut operation.)  The idea, the historians and political scientists said, was to ensure that issues were forced upwards and onto his desk for decision.  (By contrast Ike used his Cabinet extensively, leading to the criticism that he never saw significant issues.)

With the release of Hillary Clinton's emails, her long-time friend and supporter Sidney Blumenthal has come to prominence again.  He sent many emails to her, and was involved in business initiatives in Libya etc. Clinton's defended his input as part of an effort to get outside the "bubble" which can surround and entrap Washington politicians/government executives.   Since she's just a little younger than I, she may be channeling the same sort of professorial wisdom as I received back in the day.  What I don't know is whether the professoriate has updated their ideas in the last 50 years.  I know Ike's reputation has risen, so maybe the answer is "yes"?

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