Imperfect 10: Bob Woodward on the Bush Years

By: E&P Staff

The Washington Post has posted on its site a piece coming on Sunday from Bob Woodward relating 10 “take aways” from the Bush years.

He introduces the ten with:

“There’s actually a lot that President-elect Barack Obama can learn from the troubled presidency of George W. Bush. Over the past eight years, I have interviewed President Bush for nearly 11 hours, spent hundreds of hours with his administration’s key players and reviewed thousands of pages of documents and notes. That produced four books, totaling 1,727 pages, that amount to a very long case study in presidential decision-making, and there are plenty of morals to the story. Presidents live in the unfinished business of their predecessors, and Bush casts a giant shadow on the Obama presidency: two incomplete wars and a monumental financial and economic crisis. Here are 10 lessons that Obama and his team should take away from the Bush experience.”

It’s all at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/14/AR2009011402791_pf.html

Here is the list of 10 without the lengthy passages that follow them:

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 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 hard truth to the public, 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. Some version of the behind-the-scenes story of what happened in his White House will always make it out to the public — and everyone will be better off if that version is as accurate as possible.

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