How George W. Bush would govern

tshoop@govexec.com

George W. Bush is not a detail-oriented, hands-on manager, said both Democrats and Republicans from Texas, along with journalists from the state, at a forum Thursday. But they agreed he has compiled an impressive record in crafting public policy on a bipartisan basis as Texas governor.

Bush "really works from a big-picture angle," said Albert Hawkins, Texas budget director. "The governor is not totally hands-off, though. He stays engaged, but not at the detail level."

In terms of leadership style, Bush favors a "very flat organization," Hawkins said. "Senior staff get direct access to the governor any time we want or need it. There's just not this single focal point that everything goes through."

The forum, sponsored by the Transition to Governing Project, a joint project of the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution and the Hoover Institution, was the fourth and last in a series looking at the governing styles and approaches of the leading presidential candidates.

Michigan Gov. John Engler, a Bush supporter, noted that he is the only one of the current candidates with executive experience in government, even though he had only held public office for five years before launching his presidential campaign.

"The years get mentioned and I don't think they're very relevant," Engler said. "I'm not worried that somehow he's not prepared."

The panelists noted that the Texas governor is relatively limited in political powers under the state's constitution. But several said he has made the most of his authority, often through the force of his own personality.

"People who disagree with him on almost every issue say, "I can't help but like the guy,' " said Jay Root, Austin bureau chief of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"I compare him to (former Texas governor) John Connally as far as his ability to make the system work and bring the legislature to his agenda," said Bill Ratliff, a Republican who chairs the Finance Committee of the Texas Senate. "It's a great indication of his leadership skills that he can take a constitutionally weak office and do as much with it as he's done."

"He does come and look for bipartisan support," said Steven Wolens, a Democrat who chairs the State Affairs Committee of the Texas House of Representatives. "He doesn't look for blame, he looks to bring people together." Wolens acknowledged, however, that Texas is a generally conservative state without the sharp partisan differences that tend to characterize politics at the national level.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.