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Hullabaloo


Monday, July 31, 2006

 
The Best And The Brightest

by digby

Here is a fascinating look at one of our government's most important foreign policy innovators. Considering her extremely important position and intimate influence on the president one can't help but wonder how the administration's mid-east policy came to be so simplistic and infused with magical thinking:


As part of her job, this Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate in journalism and English from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and former Texas television reporter, still writes news scripts -- to the world.

In the past year, she has created the "rapid response unit" to monitor global media, produce a daily summary of driving news and put out the government's cohesive response. Every cabinet secretary, ambassador, military commander gets these pages. "This was my effort to try, literally, to get the federal government on the same page."

Her next major assignment is to lead an interagency process in writing a strategic communications plan -- this time for the entire U.S. government.

"I will frequently say, 'I've been doing so many meetings, I can't get any work done.' I have to have time to think and have time to write. I'm very verbal, I like to talk, I like people, but I'm also a writer." What she goes home to write, these days, is this master plan.

[...]

Despite her resistance to meetings, her top management tip is for a manager to spend time with his/her own people -- and not to pigeonhole them in their job descriptions. She likes a "very collaborative approach so we have very interesting staff meetings, lots of ideas and laughs.

"I'm an idea factory. My staff laughs at me. If I've had a really good exercise night, I'll come in the next morning and have several ideas."

[...]

She says that it is "vitally important for our children to foster better relationships between America and people of different countries and cultures. I mean children in Canada, children in the United States, my own son, children around the world."

She has three job goals:

First: "Foster a sense of hope and opportunity. These are rooted in our values, beginning with our belief in the dignity of every person -- in every person's right to live in freedom, in equality, in a just society."

Second: "Work to marginalize the violent extremists and to confront their ideology of tyranny and hate. I really believe that's vitally important for our children to have a peaceful future."

Third: "Foster a sense of common interests and values between Americans and Canadians and people across the world. We have to be able to communicate a common humanity. You can't, I wouldn't think, blow up a bomb next to someone you see is a human being who has a lot in common with you."

[...]

What will history say about this president?

"I believe they'll say that he championed freedom and democracy and changed a volatile and dangerous region into one that was more, much more, hopeful and optimistic."

And, on the economic front, after the 2000 stock market bubble burst after 9/11, she says, "they'll say that his tax cuts helped avoid significant economic disruption."

As for herself, she continues to craft and deliver the Bush administration's public message.

Her nighttime reading is telling. A re-reading of Bernard Lewis' What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response. Alaa Al Aswany's The Yacoubian Building, about a building in Cairo and all its inhabitants. And, at her bedside, evangelist Billy Graham's new book, The Journey: How to Live by Faith in an Uncertain World.



It's this kind of thing that explains how Dick Cheney came to be so powerful.


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