Trust me

It’s not surprising that Bush would prefer not to disclose documents from Miers’ White House service; from what we know, the sausage factory in which this administration turned advice and information into policy is probably a pathology museum of ways to do it wrong. But his current executive privilege claim means that almost everything Miers ever did in public affairs, and everything related to national issues, will be invisible. Votes on the Dallas City Council just don’t cut it for this job. It’s one thing to conceal executive materials covering part of a career that otherwise left a relevant trail, but this raises stealth to a level a B2 would envy.

All in all, we’re just barely keeping our heads above the rising tide of irony. Two latest waves to slosh past:

(1) The crack W is getting himself stuck in here would seem to be completely predictable by, um, a policy and decision system that worked: “Hey, boss, you can’t nominate her if you don’t want to release her White House files; it’s all she’s got!”

(2) Miers is already bleeding from friendly fire. Doesn’t “…20 years from now she’ll be the same person with the same philosophy that she is today” mean “unable or unwilling to learn”?

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.