Anatomy of a Fumble

Bush tries to blame his economic performance on bad advice, but the fault lies more with his own political strategy and his instinct to let the recession fix itself

HE ALWAYS PUBLICLY STOOD behind them, but he seldom led them anywhere. For nearly four years, George Bush's economic advisers squabbled and struggled with little positive guidance and woeful political results. Last week Bush gave them their most unequivocal direction so far: he showed them the door. As a political sacrifice play, the beleaguered President put out the word that in a second term he would replace his economic team, including Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady, Budget Director Richard Darman and chief economist Michael Boskin. To fill the void, Bush said he would appoint chief of staff James Baker as domestic policy...

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