The Bush administration has bent over backwards to cater to business interests. At least, that’s been my perception from the outside.
Last week, I met with an influential operative in the business community about the Law of the Sea. We agree on the importance of U.S. accession to the Convention as critical to national security, business interests and global sustainability — but probably little else.
This individual had a very different perspective on the White House’s relationship to business. He told me — and I’m paraphrasing here — that the White House rarely gives them advance notice when the administration does or says something that affects their interests.
In particular, he recalled with anger the maelstrom surrounding Vice President Cheney’s energy task force. He promised me that there was nothing secret about the meetings and that some of them even took place in the offices of a trade association. And he continued — furious at this point — to complain that the task force’s recommendations were more or less ignored as the White House presented its energy package to Congress.
None of this changes my view that Cheney’s energy task force was highly irregular or that business interests carry too much weight in the Bush administration. But the fact that these folks don’t feel heard in a very, very friendly White House speaks to the general incompetence of the administration and helps to explain why no one, not even Bush’s natural base, wants more of the same.
— Scott Paul