Lately on the news I hear more and more "The White House said", or "The White House decided", or something of that nature.
Now the last time I checked, the White House is just a building who can't say or do much of anything.
When they make these claims regarding the White House what person or persons are really doing the telling or deciding?
For me it would be better if they used the actual name of the person rather than the house they work in.
What are your thoughts about this?
I think it is the white house spokesperson they refer to. The White House is the office of the President. It contains his secretaries, advisers and staff. And there will be a spokesperson who will act towards the voice for all proceedings and communications. The name is of no value here as it is a collective group of people under President's supervision. Whatever is communicated is deemed as having the approval of the President.
When it is reported that 'the White House' said this or that, or the White House has take a particular stance on something, they are referring to the Administration in power, and specifically the president. The president may not have commented on the issue personally, at least not to the person reporting, but those people authorized to speak for him have.
If the president doesn't correct something said by one of his spokespeople, then it can be assumed he is in agreement and presumably his spokesperson is sharing the president's views on the issue at hand.
Most administrations have policies regarding a number of issues and the people working directly for that administration are informed of them. Generally the White House Press Secretary meets with reporters several times throughout the day and that person meets regularly with the president also, along with advisors to the president so that they know what to say to certain questions that may be posed. Sometimes they have to say they cannot answer until they consult with the president, depending on the issue. Every once in a while a surprise subject is raised that the Press Secretary may not have immediate answers for.
Did you ever watch "West Wing," a weekly program about the White House and the office of the president, and how they operate? It was on from 1999-2006, and while fiction, could be very informative as to how things usually happen in the White House and how things are managed by the office of the sitting president. It was extremely popular and may be available to watch on Netflix. It may also be available on DVD through eBay. Here is one place you can check out if you would like to see it: http://www.locatetv.com/tv/west-wing I don't know how that particular site works, but by Googling "How can I view replays of West Wing, television program" you should be able to find a way to see it if you're interested. As I said, it's very informative even though it's basically fiction. It can help you understand how things work.
I did see a few of the West Wing shows, thanks for reminding me. That was a great answer.
My problem with the whole thing is that nobody has to take responsibility for making a decision. If someone had to admit it was them who made the decision they might think it through a little better.
Rarely does anyone in government have to admit to anything up to and including the Pentagon,Forest Service, EPA, IRS, or any other agency.
It doesn't happen that way in private industry. The person who made the decision is announced and is responsible for the outcome of that decision. Perhaps our government would be more efficient if they had to take personal responsibility for their actions?
If it is released by the Whitehouse, the president is responsible whether he personally approved the statement or not. That is why people want statements with that stamp. If it turns out to be wrong or not what POTUS wanted it has to be officially retracted. It is like a policy statement. That is why these statements tend to be both late and vague when it comes to topical issues.
It isn't humanly possible to micromanage the entire federal government, yet a lot of people blame various entities and especially the president for anything that goes wrong anywhere in the Federal government. That is true no matter who the president is or what Party s/he belongs to. It's kind of silly if you think about it, but everyone wants to get their pound of flesh, especially if they aren't fond of the sitting president.
Sometimes it's important to lay the blame at a particular person's feet, other times it's really more important just to fix it if possible. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. The Federal government by necessity is very big. You can't have the small government so many people envision when your population is 125 million people and growing -- and that doesn't include people who are here both legally and illegally as guests. It is impossible for one person to micromanage even one department of the U.S. government.
There are times when it makes sense to blame the president or a particular government official, and other times it's a waste of time. Sometimes a president can sign executive orders to put things into affect, but most of what happens is blessed by our Congress. When something is passed by Congress I think it makes no sense to blame the sitting president even if s/he supported whatever it was/is. The president may have wanted Congress to pass a particular bill, but s/he can't make them do it.
So often people forget that our president, whoever it is and regardless of Party, is not a dictator. Terrible things have been said about Obama, and terrible things were said about Bush, many just ridiculous in both cases.
One thing everyone should think about is that they would not have the luxury of running their mouths and saying the ugly things they sometimes do if in fact the president was a dictator and guilty of the terrible things they are saying about him. Not only Obama, but any president. Especially referring to a U.S. president as a Hitler or worse. If that were true they would have to go into hiding for saying such terrible and ridiculous things. Saying such ludicrous things takes any credibility a person might have had out of the equation.
In private industry someone ends up being the scape goat and it isn't necessarily the person who is really at fault. There is dishonesty in the private sector just as much as in government. Office politics are often a problem and people who are just trying to mind their own business and do their job can easily get mined up in it through no fault of their own. Seems to me like grown ups in both government and the private sector act a lot like my second grade classmates did many years ago. "We haven't been mad at Mary for a long time, so let's be mad at Mary today." So then everyone refuses to talk to or acknowledge Mary for the morning or the day or whatever and make her feel like a pariah and worse just for the fun of it.
I have observed supervisor's and manager's 'pets' running to their office to tell the manager/supervisor lies about another employee just to cause trouble. Yes, out and out lies. It could be an effort to cover their own behinds, or it could be for the fun of it, something that didn't happen at all.
Outstanding comment and of course you are right. I guess my pet peeve is the lack of accountability and ownership in most government agencies.
But thinking back, it is not that much different in the private sector. Thanks for the really great comment.
OP, this issue has never occurred to me as a problem. The President ultimately makes the decision or concurs with those made by others or even allows decisions to be made of lesser import by his subordinates. The "White House' could encompass all of that.
The President is responsible for any and every decision made within the Executive Branch.
Greetings and felicitations!
Credence2 it has been a long time my friend and I hope life is good for you down there in Florida. Don't forget that if you get to Arizona the steaks and beer are on me.
It probably isn't a problem. I just don't care for it when they refer to a building doing the talking.
It is any staff member empowered to make an official statement under the aegis of the president. It means "reflecting the wishes of the office of the president but not from his own mouth".
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