The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, July 18, 2002  

Businessmen or Hacks?

Michelle Cottle is a welcome addition to the Washington weeklies, though it’s a shame her talents are being wasted at the New Republic, a magazine that, in our opinion, hasn’t been all that interesting since Michael Kinsley left some 15 years ago.

Cottle’s latest piece, “Funny Business,” about the purported business acumen of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, is without question worth your time. The fundamental premise of the essay is sound and wisely argued, and Cottle throws in some great lines like these:

“In reality, both Bush and Cheney were lousy businessmen. Their rise through the corporate ranks had nothing to do with financial or management acumen -- and everything to do with cronyism and a gift for exploiting their insider status.”

“[I]n recent years, with the New Economy making millionaires of us all, corporate executives have been regarded with an awe once reserved for gods and rock stars. (All hail Jack Welch!) Anyone with even weak ties to the business world could convince us of their inherent genius. Even now, we keep hearing about how Bush is ‘our first MBA president.’ Oooo, really? An MBA! How special for all of us.”

We’re tempted to republish the final paragraph of Cottle’s article, but we won’t. Fix yourself a drink, put up your feet, and read the essay at your leisure in its entirety.

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