John DiIulio quoted by Ron Suskind in Esquire, 1/1/03:
"I heard many, many staff discussions but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions," he writes. "There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues. There were, truth be told, only a couple of people in the West Wing who worried at all about policy substance and analysis, and they were even more overworked than the stereotypical nonstop, twenty-hour-a-day White House staff. Every modern presidency moves on the fly, but on social policy and related issues, the lack of even basic policy knowledge, and the only casual interest in knowing more, was somewhat breathtaking: discussions by fairly senior people who meant Medicaid but were talking Medicare; near-instant shifts from discussing any actual policy pros and cons to discussing political communications, media strategy, et cetera. Even quite junior staff would sometimes hear quite senior staff pooh-pooh any need to dig deeper for pertinent information on a given issue."
Michael Gerson, former head speechwriter in the White House, writing in the Washington Post about Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal and his ideas regarding state Medicaid waivers granted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (via Brad DeLong):
At a recent meeting of conservative activists, Jindal had little to say about his traditional social views or compelling personal story. Instead, he uncorked a fluent, substantive rush of policy proposals and achievements, covering workforce development, biodiesel refineries, quality assurance centers, digital media, Medicare parts C and D, and state waivers to the CMS (whatever that is).
PS Gerson's ignorance (whether real or feigned) echoes GOP chairman Michael Steele ("Exactly what is a fish passage barrier...?") and Jindal in his response to President Obama's speech to Congress ("$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring'"). As Kevin Drum notes, these expressions of ignorance are absurd when you can just google "CMS" or "fish passage" or "volcano monitoring" and find out what they are. Can we direct all the resources of Let Me Google That For You to GOP headquarters?