The Man with Six In Boxes

A White House aide rarely gets to write his own job description, but that's what Roger Porter did back in 1980. While teaching government at Harvard, Porter wrote Presidential Decision Making, a book describing a system in which the President designates "honest brokers." These senior aides, unlike Cabinet officers, are not wedded to particular policies or constituencies. The broker's job is to elicit advice from each department that has a stake in a decision. The broker then helps distill the main arguments and options for the President, who ultimately hears a few senior advisers debate head to head.

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