I think Florida, though, I think it actually — that whole long transition period I think made it more difficult to get off to a running start. I think it's, frankly, amazing that they got off to as good a start as they did. There were a lot of hurdles, and the fact that they did it as seamlessly as they did, the fact that they could, in fact, put together a Cabinet as quickly, to get the Cabinet confirmed as quickly was remarkable.
And given the fact that you had all of these expectations of this very overheated political scene in Washington, with lots of animosity left over from the campaign, I think it was really quite stunning that they were able to do what they did and do it with virtually no casualties.
Monday, March 26, 2001
Conservatives, during the administration of Bush, the elder, were, I think it's fair to say, disappointed. During the last couple of weeks there have been sort of these bubblings of euphoria coming from conservative think-tanks, and they're sort of looking at this administration and saying, "You want to know something? This really looks like a conservative administration." You're a conservative.
What do you think?
I think that conservatives are absolutely right and they ought to be delighted. I am surprised that they didn't see this coming, because if you look back, again, at the campaign, even in the initial stages, if you looked at the kind of policy people that Governor Bush had advising him, the teams he put together on important issues, they were heavily loaded with conservative think-tank folks, with veterans of the Reagan administration, far more veterans of the Reagan administration than his own father's administration. He is, I think, to his core, a conservative.
More, more of a Reaganite than a Bushite?
Absolutely. It's interesting. President Bush has always had a softer rhetorical edge. He was not the kind of, of rhetorician that President Reagan was. He did not see Washington and Government as the enemy, did not portray it as such. But he, nonetheless, I think is very conservative in his governing principles and in his philosophy, and I think he understood something I'm not sure [the first] President Bush understood as well, and that is that people are policy. That if you people your administration with people of strong conservative philosophy, it's going to have an impact on the policy, and people drive policy, and I think that's what President Bush is getting high credit for, is having picked fairly conservative folks, not just at the Cabinet level but at some of the sub-Cabinet positions as well....
How do you think the, the nicknames, the arm around the shoulder, the general bonhomie of the man, and he is a very charming man — how long before that is swept aside by what you are describing here as a president with a team at the White House who clearly know where they're going, what they want to achieve, and who, for all the smiles, and general good, good nature, are determined to achieve it?