Madlibs and the Bush administration’s signature style

The New York Times Magazine offers a sneak preview of next week’s cover story — Jeffrey Rosen’s article about Jack Goldsmith’s experiences at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (Full disclosure: Jack is a good friend and I’ve blogged about him before). Goldsmith is the author of The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

The New York Times Magazine offers a sneak preview of next week's cover story -- Jeffrey Rosen's article about Jack Goldsmith's experiences at the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (Full disclosure: Jack is a good friend and I've blogged about him before). Goldsmith is the author of
The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration

, due out in the next week. This paragraph from Rosen's story should sound familiar to those who have observed Bush's foreign policy style: In Goldsmith?s view, the Bush administration went about answering [national security law] questions in the wrong way. Instead of reaching out to Congress and the courts for support, which would have strengthened its legal hand, the administration asserted what Goldsmith considers an unnecessarily broad, ?go-it-alone? view of executive power. As Goldsmith sees it, this strategy has backfired. ?They embraced this vision,? he says, ?because they wanted to leave the presidency stronger than when they assumed office, but the approach they took achieved exactly the opposite effect. The central irony is that people whose explicit goal was to expand presidential power have diminished it.?Let's have some Madlibs fun and insert some blanks into this paragraph: In Goldsmith?s view, the Bush administration went about answering __noun__ questions in the wrong way. Instead of reaching out to __noun__ and __noun__ for support, which would have strengthened its __adjective__ hand, the administration asserted what Goldsmith considers an unnecessarily broad, ?go-it-alone? view of __noun__ . As Goldsmith sees it, this strategy has backfired. ?They embraced this vision,? he says, ?because they wanted to leave __noun__ stronger than when they assumed office, but the approach they took achieved exactly the opposite effect. The central irony is that people whose explicit goal was to expand __noun__ have diminished it.?Discussion question: would it be safe to say that this applies to almost every Bush administration policy initiative?

The New York Times Magazine offers a sneak preview of next week’s cover story — Jeffrey Rosen’s article about Jack Goldsmith’s experiences at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (Full disclosure: Jack is a good friend and I’ve blogged about him before). Goldsmith is the author of
The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration


, due out in the next week. This paragraph from Rosen’s story should sound familiar to those who have observed Bush’s foreign policy style:

In Goldsmith?s view, the Bush administration went about answering [national security law] questions in the wrong way. Instead of reaching out to Congress and the courts for support, which would have strengthened its legal hand, the administration asserted what Goldsmith considers an unnecessarily broad, ?go-it-alone? view of executive power. As Goldsmith sees it, this strategy has backfired. ?They embraced this vision,? he says, ?because they wanted to leave the presidency stronger than when they assumed office, but the approach they took achieved exactly the opposite effect. The central irony is that people whose explicit goal was to expand presidential power have diminished it.?

Let’s have some Madlibs fun and insert some blanks into this paragraph:

In Goldsmith?s view, the Bush administration went about answering __noun__ questions in the wrong way. Instead of reaching out to __noun__ and __noun__ for support, which would have strengthened its __adjective__ hand, the administration asserted what Goldsmith considers an unnecessarily broad, ?go-it-alone? view of __noun__ . As Goldsmith sees it, this strategy has backfired. ?They embraced this vision,? he says, ?because they wanted to leave __noun__ stronger than when they assumed office, but the approach they took achieved exactly the opposite effect. The central irony is that people whose explicit goal was to expand __noun__ have diminished it.?

Discussion question: would it be safe to say that this applies to almost every Bush administration policy initiative?

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is the co-director of the Russia and Eurasia Program. Twitter: @dandrezner

Tag: Law

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