Sunday, April 23, 2006

Will the changes be enough?

This is the question everyone is asking these days. Can the Bush administration make the necessary changes to reverse the downward trend in approval ratings among other problems?

The answer, quite simply, is yes. Josh Bolten does seem to have the authority to make key changes. Bringing former Cincinnati area Congressman Rob Portman in as director of OMB is a good move to start. Portman has a great relationship with Congress and this is one are in which there is certainly quite a bit of room for improvement.

From my perspective (ant that of many others) there has been an issue with communication to the public and press with the White House. Changes are occurring here as well. It seems Tony Snow has been offered the job as Press Secretary and this move could make great strides. Snow is a warm communicative voice with plenty of experience on both the White House and press perspectives. Of course he has to be willing to take a pay-cut and will lose quite a bit of time with his this is still very much a question mark. I, for one, will welcome bringing yet another Cincinnatian to a key role in the Bush White House.

On the topic of communication, I caught a bit of an interesting conversation on Meet the Press this morning. The video is not up quite yet, but I would suggest checking it out. To summarize Tony Blankley and Ron Brownstein discussed how this White House has tended to focus its PR on only a small segment of the population. On a very good day, ~52% of the country might respond well. When times aren't so good, ~35% of the nation will respond well. Does that number look familiar? Blankley suggested that the administration needs to appeal to the broader public rather. Also, to be sure, Blankley took himself out of the running for Press Secretary (unfortunately I think).

Secretary John Snow could be another change as this administration has had little to no luck at communicating what is actually a great economy. Snow has been seen as ineffective during his time. Recently, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez has been mentioned. While the economy has been stellar the issue of gas prices has overshadowed high growth rates and record low unemployment rates.

Beyond changes in staff and in the style of communication passing some common-sense legislation can make a difference. One big question is whether that is possible with the way Harry Reid is handling himself in the Senate. It seems Reid is insistent on not allowing legislation to go through (before the 06 elections, of course), even if it is relatively bi-partisan as was the case with immigration reform. Perhaps it is too much to expect Reid to put policy over politics but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. One big change that has been mentioned here and there is paper-less health records. Going to a paperless system has the potential to save thousands of lives in reduced medical errors and billions of dollars in savings. I'd like to go into more detail but that is for another time. This type of legislation would likely see wide bi-partisan support. Newt Gingrich and Hillary Clinton have been some of the bigger proponents.

So what do you think? What needs to be done? Is this presidency salvageable?


Blogger The Wizard said...

Hey Nathan.

No, but you probably figured on me saying that.

Thought I'd stop by.

4/29/2006 4:19 PM  

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