The Paradoxes of the American Presidency

By Thomas E. Cronin; Michael A. Genovese | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
The President and Cabinet

A good cabinet ought to be a place where the large
outlines of policy can be hammered out in common,
where the essential strategy is decided upon, where
the president knows that he will hear, both in
affirmation and in doubt, even in negation, most of
what can be said about the direction he proposes to
follow.

Harold J. Laski, The American Presidency: An
Interpretation
( Harper & Brothers, 1940), pp. 257-58

Cabinet meetings in the Bush White House were
stilted, boring affairs. Instead of creative ferment and
the clash of ideas, there were droning reports. . . .
The truth is, Cabinet meetings are an anachronism.

Dan Quayle, Standing Firm, ( Harper Paperback, 1995),
p. 109

February 18, 1994--The White House. The first
cabinet meeting in months. We sit stiffly while
[ President Clinton] talks about current events as if he
were speaking to a group of visiting diplomats. I've
been in many meetings with him, but few with the
entire cabinet, and it suddenly strikes me that there's
absolutely no reason for him--for any president--to
meet with the entire cabinet. Cabinet officers have
nothing in common except for the first word in our
titles.

Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich, Locked in the Cabinet
(Knopf, 1997), p. 150.

-273-

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