Tag Archives: Bob Woodward

Bush Epitomizes the “Bad Boss”

I’m not familiar with the work of Bob Woodward. I’m know the Watergate myth. I was dismayed to read of the hagiography of his early Bush books, and I’m happy to hear his access has turned to more critical ends, but I haven’t read anything he’s written.

That aside, Woodward’s most recent book excerpt in the Washington Post establishes the President as a clueless, petulant bullier who wouldn’t be qualified to manage an Arby’s night shift. He is the embodiment of the bad boss, the personification of someone with the keys to lead but no idea where to drive except into a brick wall.

David Satterfield, a senior diplomat known as “the Human Talking Point,” had watched the president up close for several years from his vantage point as Iraq coordinator for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Satterfield had reached some highly critical conclusions not shared by Rice: If Bush believed something was right, he believed it would succeed. Its very rightness ensured ultimate success. Democracy and freedom were right. Therefore, they would ultimately win out.

Bush, Satterfield observed, tolerated no doubt. His words and actions constantly reminded those around him that he was in charge. He was the decider. As a result, he often made biting jokes or asides to colleagues that Satterfield found deeply wounding and cutting.

Bush had little patience for briefings. “Speed it up. This isn’t my first rodeo,” he would often say to those making presentations. It was difficult to brief him because he would interject his own narrative, questions or off-putting jokes. Discussions rarely unfolded in a logical, comprehensive fashion.

“Speed it up. This isn’t my first rodeo.” I imagine it was the same tone as, “All right. You’ve covered your ass now.