10 Take Aways From the Bush Years

One last article reviewing the outgoing administration:

Bob Woodward has an interesting take away from the past 8 years. Woodward has spilled as much ink as anyone covering the Bush White House — 11 hours of interviews with Bush, hundreds of hours with his key players, four books, totaling 1,727 pages — suggests that this has been the equivalent of a very long case study in how not to engage in presidential decision-making. From the Bush administration’s errors, here are 10 lessons that Obama and his team should take away:

1. Presidents set the tone. Don’t be passive or tolerate virulent divisions.

2. The president must insist that everyone speak out loud in front of the others, even — or especially — when there are vehement disagreements.

3. A president must do the homework to master the fundamental ideas and concepts behind his policies.

4. Presidents need to draw people out and make sure that bad news makes it to the Oval Office.

5. Presidents need to foster a culture of skepticism and doubt.

6. Presidents get contradictory data, and they need a rigorous way to sort it out.

7. Presidents must tell the public the hard truth, even if that means delivering very bad news.

8. Righteous motives are not enough for effective policy.

9. Presidents must insist on strategic thinking.

10. The president should embrace transparency.

The entire article is worth your time — it is both astute and thought provoking . . .

10 Take Aways From the Bush Years
Bob Woodward
Washington Post, Sunday, January 18, 2009; Page B01

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