American Elephants

So What Do You Think Of Your Government? by The Elephant's Child

350px-State-dining-room-polk-cabinetI have been fascinated with the animus directed at the Environmental Protection Agency. I’ve long thought of them as a rogue agency, interested only in their power grab, and their environmental efforts as mostly futile and misdirected. Their enormous fines and riding roughshod over businesses and private citizens, trampling the law and ruining lives suggested to me that the agency should be abolished.  But it appears that large numbers of Americans agree with me. I didn’t expect that.

That got me thinking about other governmental departments. So I looked up the Cabinet, and what are referred to as “Cabinet Rank” officials who are not part of the Cabinet. I looked them up in Wikipedia. You have to scroll down for the list, but you should see the picture of James K. Polk and his cabinet in 1946— all five of them. Lincoln had seven, and in September 2009, Obama had 21. But scroll down to the Cabinet. It’s hard to attribute the correct agencies belonging to each cabinet office.

Which federal agencies do you admire and trust? Or the reverse, which do you believe are incompetent and failing to do what they should? The IRS? The VA? Interior? Agriculture? Education? If Monica Crowley is correct, Obama exercises incredibly tight control, and nothing goes forward in his administration without his approval.

Just a thought experiment.

PolkADDENDUM: [The picture is of of James K. Polk and his cabinet in 1846, The first cabinet to be photographed.] From left to right, front row. John Y, Mason, Attorney General; William L. Marcy, Secretary of War; President Polk; Robert J. Walker, Secretary of the Treasury; Back Row Cave Johnson, Postmaster General; George Bancroft, Secretary of the Navy. Secretary of State James Buchanan is absent. Polk was 49, He served 1845-1849. He pledged to reestablish the independent Treasury System, Reduce tariffs, Acquire some or all of Oregon Country, and acquire California and New Mexico. Accomplished all. He was a Democrat.



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“If Monica Crowley is correct, Obama exercises incredibly tight control, and nothing goes forward in his administration without his approval.”

Which is probably the reason everything this administration does is done so very, very badly. Even people who are good at multi-tasking (which Obama is not) can’t be involved with every decision, and any decent manager will tell you that micromanaging kills morale and effectiveness. Oversight is one thing (I’m a contractor, and I have someone who checks on me occasionally), but interference is another.


Comment by Lon Mead

Oh, I’m pretty sure she’s right. The tendencies towards totalitarianism are fairly obvious. The reluctance of someone who was trained as a lawyer to follow the law (or is that a failing of our law schools — to teach respect for the law?) You see it in the awkward attempts of his people to do as they have been instructed, yet they have a hard time coping with their instructions. Kerry’s efforts to convince Congress of the wonderfulness of the Iran Deal are a great example. He just appeared more and more uncomfortable. Carter was reported to be a micro-manager as well.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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