Monday, November 01, 2004

Faulty decision process?

Daniel Drezner has a child and wants tenure. To get it, he probably has to rattle off left wing catechism for the grantors of tenure. That's the only way I can explain this.

Mr. Drezner is distressed by the number of "Mongolian clusterf**ks" found in the Bush administration's planning. Well what do you know - not everyone in his administration had the same ideas about how to do things! Some people have expressed differences of opinion, and that can only mean that the decisions actually implemented were incorrect, right?

I for one would be far more disturbed if everyone in the administration had exactly the same ideas - apparently President Bush has assembled a diverse group to provide counsel, and that's to be respected. But once the decision has been made, it's time to put your head down, shut up and start implementing instead of hogging cameras. And has anyone ever considered that maybe planning could be better if the Bush Administration didn't have to watch its back against a hostile media echoing opposition spin all the time?

I'm a blogger too, so I too reserve the right to question decisions made by the govt, media, other bloggers or anyone else after the fact. The thought that Mr. Drezner would question the Bush administration's conduct of the war certainly wasn't offensive in itself.

But the jaw-dropper was when he wrote "I prefer a leader who has a good decision-making process, even if his foreign policy instincts are skewed in a direction I don't like, over a leader who has a bad decision-making process, even if his foreign policy instincts are skewed in a direction I do like."

And this led him to support John Kerry? Can Kerry be said to even *have* a decision-making process? Or is it just so prolific that it generates all alternatives? Pick Kerry if you must (he's going to win IL anyway despite my absentee vote), but please come up with something better than this.

Mr. Drezner goes on to say "But in the end, I can't vote for a president who doesn't believe that what he believes might, just might, be wrong." Here he must be mindreading. Making a decision does not indicate that there never was any doubt, it just means that somebody had to have the cojones to act under conditions of uncertainty - you'll never know all the relevant facts and much of what you do know has a short shelf-life.

(And making a decision is the opposite of letting your allies dictate your policy. Kerry's "global test" nonsense is simply a way for Kerry to avoid responsibility. That's OK with me, but I'd prefer that he avoid responsibility by losing the election by a truly embarrassing margin)

So how does Mr. Drezner conclude that President Bush has no doubts about his decisions? It appears that he is making some truly stupendous assumptions that just could be wrong. Is he willing to reexamine that?

Or maybe Mr. Drezner swallowing the Dem story concocted to counteract Kerry's flipflopping, namely, that in fact George W. Bush is bullheaded.

Well, President Bush in fact has some identifiable consistent principles, which certainly narrows the scope of the decisions he's likely to reach. And I, the stock market and most of sane society prefer that predictability to a loose cannon who scores once in a while but is likely to shift with any political zephyr.

And if bull-headedness is to be feared, what can you say about a man who still won't come clean about Vietnam, or apologize for the monstrous and unsupported accusations he made about his "band of brothers"? Had he done so, we might never have hears about the Swift boat vets. Even Jane Fonda has apologized - why can't Kerry? His positions on Viet Nam might well be the only ones he's ever stuck with.

Anyway, I hope Mr. Drezner gets his tenure. But only if he can come up with a better decision making process than what we've seen.

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