Monday, March 17, 2003

The Long Term Damage

Matthew Yglesias is rather sanguine about the effect of Bush on our long term international relations. He's right, in a way - that since Bush is the problem, once Bush goes away the problem will go away.

Sadly, it isn't as simple as that. I think Matthew, like many people I've known, underestimates the power of the executive branch. In addition to the long-lasting effects of judicial appointments, presidents have the power to mold and shape the various cabinet agencies for years after they've departed. And, while democratic presidents can't even seem to fire Travel Office employees who were engaged in all kinds of unethical behavior, this administration seems to have been pretty good at the purging-and-stuffing of important places like the State Department. Jeebus willing, Negroponte and Pointdexter will be gone 2 years from now, but they will have left their legacy behind them.