Concluding Thoughts and Next Steps
The concluding chapter summarizes the overall findings and pushes them toward related topics in sore need of additional study. It examines what happens before an executive order is issued, but we know little about what happens afterward. The conclusion is also a chance to explore the question of bureaucratic capacity and autonomy as it runs up against presidential desires to control that bureaucracy — a claim bolstered by electoral legitimacy. Presidential hostility to the permanent government is hardly new, of course. But the Trump administration's amplification of that contention — with frequent, personal attacks on agencies and even individual civil servants on the one hand, and “resistance” to presidential preferences on the other — raised its salience, and its stakes. The argument of this book rests in part on the value presidents derive — substantively but also politically — from astute management of a bureaucracy that can provide expert advice on solving pressing national problems. Undermining its ability to do so is therefore counterproductive.
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