Field of Science

Ten ways Obama will do better than Bush

Bob Woodward wrote four books on the Bush-presidency, and today on Sunday (!) shares these ten lessons for future presidents to reflect upon (followed by my own audacious predictions for Obama):

1. Presidents set the tone. Don't be passive or tolerate virulent divisions.

Check. Obama will not leave the room while his aides fight it out.

2. The president must insist that everyone speak out loud in front of the others, even -- or especially -- when there are vehement disagreements.

Check. Obama is not going to allow ridicule within his administration.

3. A president must do the homework to master the fundamental ideas and concepts behind his policies.

(Okay, I got tired of this 'check' thing already.) Obama reads books. He will act inquisitively and skeptically.

4. Presidents need to draw people out and make sure bad news makes it to the Oval Office.

I predict Obama will seek out credible sources of information, and not blindly trust the opinions of his aides. Nor will he ever reference any "higher father."

5. Presidents need to foster a culture of skepticism and doubt.

Obama has already expressed that he is a man of doubt in an area where Bush found only certainty (i.e. religion).

6. Presidents get contradictory data, and they need a rigorous way to sort it out.

I predict that Obama will not dismiss contradicting intelligence. I would have predicted this for any President-elect, so I would have been wrong eight years ago.

7. Presidents must tell the hard truth to the public, even if that means delivering very bad news.

Obama would not likely copy this style of the Bush-administration. Better be upfront than risk making any of those gargantuan mistakes.

8. Righteous motives are not enough for effective policy.

I just don't see Obama saying that we will be greeted as liberators...

9. Presidents must insist on strategic thinking.

Long-term plans for the economy is surely a priority.

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.

If Obama presents plans with great assertiveness, he will follow through, and failure to do so will be the exception.

There. That should do a smidgen better than my last predictions for the coming administration.


  1. And you're anonymous, and that's much, much worse.

    On top of that, you spell like a creationist.

  2. "On top of that, you spell like a creationist."


    Great points. I agree on all counts. Thank god Bush is out of office.


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS