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March 10, 2003

Under doctor's orders


I am under doctor's orders not to watch West Wing in order to reduce my risk of sudden cranial explosion syndrome.   (Aside from being bad for your health, cleaning up the blood, bone fragments and grey matter from the walls and furniture is a real pain in the butt.)   However, I did stumble across this interesting post by Susanna Cornett at cut on the bias:

A look inside the West Wing

Lawrence O'Donnell started his career as a writer for television before spending over seven years working in Washington first as an advisor with Senator Patrick Moynihan and then as Democratic chief of staff of the United States Senate Committee on Finance from 1993 to 1995. He's back in Hollywood these days, first to work with West Wing, then to develop and produce Mr. Sterling. He was on Fresh Air Thursday night with a guest host, talking about his shows and his time in Washington. I came in at the end, which was a penetrating and candid look at the White Houses of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. It made such an impression that I went online and made a fairly close transcript of that section of the program; if you want to listen yourself, the show can be found here; the part I post here is from about 24 minutes in to just past 32 minutes.

Here is an excerpt from Susanna's on-the-fly transcription:
Host: What are your impressions of White House culture and the Bush administration?

O'Donnell: I'm hugely impressed by it, I have to tell you, I envy it a little bit because, you know, you get to work with one president in your lifetime... I was only going to get to work in one White House... it turned out to be the Clinton White House, which was a badly messy and disastrously run White House because all organizations resemble their head, and the head of that organization was just nutty. And I think we all now know that...

And Bush is so disciplined, this is totally policy aside because I really don't find myself in agreement, personal political agreement with the Bush administration on pretty much anything I can think of. But it's an extremely disciplined place, and runs in a wonderfully efficient way. Karl Rove has brought such a smart organized intelligence to the overall political view and political interconnectedness of everything...

Andy Card has run the most stable West Wing we have seen since possibly they built the West Wing. And he's a completely ego-less White House Chief of Staff who does a tremendous job and knows how to do it. I would have loved to have come into that kind of White House to do business instead of coming into a White House where people feared, who is going to tell this bad news about this vote count to the President's wife? Because no one wants to do that, because if they do they will be perceived by various people as an enemy, you know, it was madness, it was just madness, and unprofessional, and rampantly so... It was as bad as any Hollywood studio I ever had to deal with.

Interesting stuff.   I recommend you go read the whole thing and/or listen to the original interview.

March 10, 2003 at 02:21 AM | Permalink

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