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10 thoughts on “The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill

  1. says:

    It s scary that this book alone didn t cause Bush to be defeated in 2004 Ron Susskind s work is excellent, and one can t help but admire former Treasury secretary O Neill for his courage It is also noted as being the earliest book by a Bush insider to accuse him of planning an invasion of Iraq prior to 9 11, and it remains one of the most lucid, coherent, politically sound accounts of the scope of incompetence and corruption in the Bush administration This is not a book written by an angry liberal This is a book written by a genuine economic conservative who recognized early that Bush was not what he pretended to be What s saddest is the number of sound plans by O Neill to improve the economic stability of not just the United States, but several nations in Africa His lifelong dream of following in Alexander Hamilton s noble footsteps was squashed by political manipulations and lies.NC


  2. says:

    The tropes of a DC political memoir come heavy and thick in this book Paul O Neill, a former aide in the Nixon and Ford White Houses, and recent successful CEO of Alcoa, comes to DC again with high hopes to accept his highest position ever, Treasury Secretary under George W Bush O Neill announced that he wanted to accept the challenge to return to public service, to reform Social Security and other big tasks Yet by the end, there s the inevitable disillusionment It s a tough townbut these days about power its preservation and expansion than it is about principles In the same vein, I thought about how I expected to find a bigger market for truth, but it didn t turn out that way It s so typical as to make one wonder if either O Neill or his effective amanuensis Ron Suskind had ever heard of DC before 2001.This archetypical story of naive hope and eventual frustration might be less grating if this wasn t also one of the most self serving books ever to come out of the city The fact that O Neill seems to be Suskind s only real source for the book gives him a monopoly on recollections, with Suskind mainly transcribing and adding his own cheerleading, with at best finger length distance from his hero This allows O Neill to assert that everyone who disagreed with him in the administration was just being political or power mad, while anyone who agreed with him was a pragmatic truth seeker Lawrence Lindsey, Bush s first National Economic Chairman, is derided for being an ill educated fool, with his former untenured junior faculty appointment in Harvard Economics This from O Neill with an MA in public administration from Indiana O Neill constantly references his higher loyalty to truth over personal loyalty to Bush, but from the beginning he made a deal with his close friend Alan Greenspan to oppose the shape of Bush s tax cuts As Suskind says, here were two men Colluding to prevent an elected President from enacting his policy It is clear that O Neill opposed Bush from the beginning, and then seems surprised that the force of his reason wasn t able to convert him.O Neill s self regard allowed him to pontificate on everything under the sun while in office, convinced as always that he was just speaking truth From water projects in Africa he carelessly disregards estimates of costs and says he could do it for one hundredth of estimates, with no evidence from this supposedly reality based pragmatist to economic stimulus he is shown ineptly arguing with Columbia Econ professor Glenn Hubbard to education policy he feels confident since he served on some earlier advisory boards , to global warming, health care, and sundry others Each time Suskind transcribes O Neill s opinions as if they were gospel, and his opponents mere ideologues How such an evidence based man is able to form so many certitudes on so many topics is never broached Perhaps his similarities to Bush are closer than he would like to admit.The book then, if one can grit one s teeth a bit, is not without its merits, or without its valid criticisms It does seem as if Bush s White House was preternaturally ill equipped to handle internal debate While many said that Bush, despite his personal ineptitudes, could delegate decision making, O Neill shows that since so many debates stretch across different departments, there was no way to resolve many without executive decisions Yet Bush refused to even comment in most meetings, perhaps worried that he would reveal his ignorance The irony in these cases is that in most cases Bush refused to be a decider This led to a bewildering process where organized groups in the White House presented fait accomplis to the President without much consensus or even open discussion, such as in the form of the tax cuts or the watered down CEO responsibility provisions in what became Sarbanes Oxley As in his other books, Suskind s writing can infuriate Much like O Neill, and Bush himself, Suskind matches certitude with only passing acquaintance with the facts, and the obvious mistakes are manifold millions mistaken for billions, misdated history, incorrect definitions , though not as glaring as in his later Confidence Men Despite these obvious complaints, this book does provide one an inside look at Bush s early economic policy making If only there were reliable narrators.


  3. says:

    pretty cool book about a guy from pittsburgh just looked up what he was doing now and still has his aol address listed hm love data based decisions an no nonsense style that is o neill probably also good to read a few views outside of my own politics, but i was happy to see he was basically a climate change advocate and had a lot of very non conservative views smart people are cool people baby spoiler the title is a little misleading, suggesting he pondered the price he would accept in return for his loyaltyarguably he was uncompromising basically from the beginning


  4. says:

    The two things in this book that stuck out most to me, aside from its consistent focus on how idiotic it is to ignore and avoid evidence of actual, current situations as a means to make decisions, in favor of pushing your ideologically and fantasy based decisions, is 1 the fact that the author pointed out, VERY clearly, that the administration was 100% focused on invading Iraq to replace Saddam long BEFORE the 9 11 attacks This was during Bush s FIRST term Iraq was the focus of the administration s foreign policym preceding all other their foreign policy matters I am not one who believes in the far flung 9 11 conspiracy theories, but I can t shake how disturbing this fact is 2 The second thing that was clearly emphasized was Bush s general stupidity The author never points this out in such a brash manner as I did above, but during encounter after encounter, Bush is characterized repeatedly as an empty headed auto motron He daydreams consistently during meetings, makes up and uses ridiculously childish nicknames for the professionals he associates with, refuses to ask questions to understand situations economic, social, environmental, foreign policy based, etc , and generally doesn t send the message that he is concerned with the state of the country at all Incredible how much power Cheney wields in this presidency, and how much ill informed, purely academic non reality based , ideological power Wolfowitz has wielded through him This is a very good book, and since it is a bit heavier on the economic talk, I recommend reading it using an audiobook, as that makes it convenient I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in seeing through a close insider s eyes the types of personalities that are running our country right now.


  5. says:

    Most of what were revelations when this book was first released are just something that pretty much everybody knows about the Bush administration Bush was not intellectually curious Bush and his advisors wanted war with Iraq long before 9 11 Bush wasn t really concerned with deficits All these seem pretty obvious to those of us that lived through the administration Yet, O Neill Suskind s book was the first to say many of these things that are now cliches Now that time has passed since the Bush era, I m not sure this is the best read any longer to get a grip on some of this It s an interesting, and decently written, insider account of the some key moments of the presidency, and along with Richard Clarke s Against All Enemies, will be remembered by political journalists for a long time to come But it also reads like a hagiographic tribute to the Wisdom of Paul O Neill and Moderate Centrism in All Things In this telling, O Neill is the one person in the world that knows what is what, and what to do about it He is the No Nonsense Executive With the Answers It feels very much like an attempt to cover his own ass.Unquestionably important in its own moment, but this is one first draft of history that has been re written and improved by later authors.


  6. says:

    I am a quarter of the way through this book and each time I read another page, I have a Wow reaction, completely different from the Wow reaction I had on the page before.Its unbelievable how blind we all were during the Bush Administration.I m half way through this book It amazes me still I cannot believe that Bush actually would zone out at meetings He focused on food than on anything else Any how that s how it is depicted in Ron Suskind s book.We watched the movie Produced by Oliver Stone It depicted the familiar detachment that I have been reading in Suskind s book Its truly amazing


  7. says:

    I found it hard to put down, and gained great respect for both Paul O Neill and Ron Suskind.


  8. says:

    A useful book for peering into the decision making process of the Bush administration Paul O Neill was the Treasury Secretary from 01 02 He was a black sheep in this administration because he was neither an ideologue nor a politico he was a quant, a results and evidence oriented guy who believed first and foremost in thorough process in decision making He found the evidence gathering and decision making process in the administration to be utterly slipshod and ideologically driven The focus on the book is on economics, especially the Bush tax cuts O Neill objected not to the tax cuts but to the Bush administration s thinking that this was an economic panacea and its failure to consider the long term deficit imbalance that massive tax cuts without a similar reduction in spending would cause O Neill also recorded 2 relevant pieces of information for the Iraq War 1 The administration s pre 911 hope to ramp up the pressure on Saddam compared to the Clinton years and 2 The efforts of Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and others to immediately orient the administration s response to 9 11 toward Iraq, which reflected an ideologically driven agenda that flew in the face of a lack of any connection between SH and 9 11.While this book is not about Iraq it is featured on maybe 15 of 330 pages , it does give interesting insights into the overall problems with the Bush administration s intellectual processes O Neill constantly noticed that when the administration faced a decision it quickly jumped over the Why straight to the How In a sense, decisions came prefabricated by the ideological political consensus of the administration with little systematic examination of evidence and counter claims Empiricists like Powell and O Neill clearly swam against the tide throughout these processes Although it was good of O Neill to come out honestly and give this information to Suskind, it would have been even better for him and Powell to have gone public with the flawed decision making and rigged intelligence gathering of the administration before the war started.I wouldn t really recommend this book to anyone who isn t studying the Bush administration in some depth It s just too much detail on tax stuff to be interesting to the average reader Suskind s One Percent Doctrine is the go to for the lead up to the Iraq War Still, I found this book to be useful and mostly interesting.


  9. says:

    This book is a frank expos of how Washington s inner circle, and especially the White House, REALLY works It appears that if you are analytical and a pragmatist, rather than an ideologue and team player you can translate that to adherent to the message , you have little chance of survival in our government Written from the perspective of Paul O Neill, Bush 43 s Secretary of the Treasury for the first two years of Bush s administration, it gives frank insight into the workings of our nation s highest level of government that has striking parallels to what is occurring today I highly recommend this book


  10. says:

    Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O Neill s account of his time with the Bush administration.A first person account that had some interesting insights For me, this was a slower read since the subject of politics, and especially taxes, can be a bit dull A lot has been written about the Bush administration since this book was published, and I imagine there are in depth looks at the administration.I read this book because it was on the Gil Girls reading challenge.


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The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill download The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, read online The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, kindle ebook The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill 4ecf9898fe7d Updated With A New Afterword And Including A Selection Of Key Documents, This Is The Explosive Account Of How The Bush Administration Makes Policy On War, Taxes, And Politics Its True Agenda Exposed By A Member Of The Bush CabinetThis Vivid, Unfolding Narrative Is Like No Other Book That Has Been Written About The Bush Presidency At Its Core Are The Candid Assessments Of Former Secretary Of The Treasury Paul O Neill, The Only Member Of Bush S Cabinet To Leave And Speak Frankly About How And Why The Administration Has Come To Its Core Policies And Decisions From Cutting Taxes For The Rich To Conducting Preemptive WarO Neill S Account Is Supported By Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist Ron Suskind S Interviews With Numerous Participants In The Administration, By Transcripts Of Meetings, And By Voluminous Documents The Result Is A Disclosure Of Breadth And Depth Unparalleled For An Ongoing Presidency As Readers Are Taken To The Very Epicenter Of Government, Suskind Presents An Astonishing Picture Of A President So Carefully Managed In His Public Posture That He Is A Mystery To Most Americans Now, He Is Revealed