We're not getting the federal government we deserve

“This administration has been disconnected from the government it’s supposed to be running,” Kamarck charges (and, remember, she’s a Democrat). “They seem to view the federal workforce as hostile territory. They don’t engage with it…. They don’t have a strong system of getting info from the agencies to the president.”

The clearest proof: “They keep getting surprised by stuff. And the surprise is almost worse than anything else. It conveys the sense that the White House doesn’t know what its own government is doing.

“You can’t prevent all these problems from happening, but you can certainly get ahead of the curve on some of them.”

Kamarck points to a larger historical trend at the root of the White House’s failings: the transformation of the presidency since the 1960s into an engine of the permanent political campaign.