Instapundit is perplexed by "Bush's stinginess regarding pardons." I have no strong opinion on the appropriate number of pardons for a President to issue, but I'm not at all surprised that Bush is low on the scale.
For better or for worse, Bush delegates responsibilities and then lets go of them, intervening only if there's a conflict or on matters of policy. He's not the sort to second guess, and a Presidential Pardon amounts to second-guessing the justice system.
Bush's style works well if the people you're delegating to are competent and pulling towards the same goal, but it can run into problems if too many are incompent or overly political. To remain effective, this sort of executive has to adapt as the organization changes, deciding who to trust and who needs oversight without just falling back into a trusted "inner circle" that might not really be trustworthy (past performance is no indication of future returns - the guy who gives 120% when the company and his paycheck were on the line could turn out to be a ruthless, backstabbing political operator when the situation isn't so dire).
Two of the most spectacular organizational failures I've seen were caused in part by this dynamic. Small product teams that had been functioning very effectively with distributed responsibilities grew or evolved to the point that some of the people involved could no longer be trusted, and management made some really bad choices about who they should rely on. It doesn't take long for the wheels to come off in a pretty spectacular way.
While were doing business archetypes for politicians: Whatever the faults of the hands-off executive, he's 1000 times better than the monomaniacal micromanager who knows better than everyone else (Al Gore) or the political schemer who says or does whatever he thinks will benefit him most, without regard to the consequences or to any sort of consistency or principle (John Kerry).
:: Erik | 12/22/2004 01:01:00 PM | | ::