Bush bumbled by choosing Whitman
January 23, 2005
Christine Todd Whitman, the abysmally bad first administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bush, is poised to publish the gripping, harrowing, nauseatingly self-serving account of her travails as a “moderate” (read: liberal) in a Republican Party dominated by what she calls “antiregulatory lobbyists and extreme antigovernment ideologues.”
Antigovernment ideologues! Where do we sign up?
It’s sure to catapult the former New Jersey governor into the spotlight for another 15 minutes: There’s nothing the media love more, after all, than apostate Republicans — even better if they will dump all over party conservatives or second guess and back stab former bosses.
So the book will undoubtedly be a hit … at least with liberals and pundits.
The tome will be great for attracting clients to Whitman’s environmental consulting business, and earning her fawning interviews on National Public Radio, but it’s unlikely to provide many real insights into the inner workings of the Bush administration. Why? Because Whitman has always been more simpatico with the pro-regulatory lobby and big-government ideologues on the Left than most Republicans; because she showed absolutely no inclination to bring a rogue EPA under control; and so she was probably out of the loop at the White House.
Whitman’s “tell-all” likely will follow the blueprint established by other best-selling Bush Administration defectors, including former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and terrorism advisor Richard Clarke. The authors are invariably portrayed as reasonable people whose wise counsels were ignored by blockhead “ideologues” in the White House.
Most of this is self-serving revisionism, of course — but there seems to be a market for it.
With the president unwilling or unable to do away with the EPA, or even de-fang it, we’d like to think he was Machiavellian enough to do the next best thing: To put an incompetent such as Whitman in charge. But the less flattering truth is that Bush just bumbled by choosing Whitman.