October 24, 2005
The Political is Personal
Posted by Joe Miller

President Bush announced Ben Bernanke, head of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, as his nominee to succeed Alan Greenspan as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Here's what struck me in the New York Time story covering the announcement:

"Earlier this month, Mr. Bush said he would like to nominate someone independent from politics but he has also made clear that he would like to have a personal rapport with the candidate. Given the Fed's critical role in guiding the economy, the candidate would also have to reassure Wall Street."

(Emphasis added.)  So many have commented so often on the President's preference for appointing those with whom he has a personal rapport, perhaps it's strange that I noticed it here.  Then again, as the Miers nomination drives daily installments in the Conservative Intramural Battle Reports, perhaps it is worth asking:  Why is personal rapport, personal trust from face-to-face contact, such an important part of this President's m.o.?  Was it equally true of Presidents Clinton or Reagan?  Or other U.S. Presidents, so far as we know?

Also, given that many hailed President Bush as an M.B.A., C.E.O. President, I wonder ... how does his focus on personal rapport compare with common practice in recruiting and promoting executive talent in corporate America?

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