Item description for Black in the White House: Life Inside George W. Bush's West Wing by Ron Christie...
Overview A black conservative, Ron Christie is often criticized by the liberal black establishment for taking the road less traveled. Christie's insider accounts of his time working for both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney offer a view into the world of policymaking at the highest levels.
Take an exclusive look inside the Oval Office―from an unlikely perspective. As a black conservative, Ron Christie has often taken the road less traveled. And now, he carries readers along with him on his unique, illuminating journey through the hallowed halls of the West Wing and into the sacred chamber of the Oval Office, as he shows the real workings inside one of the most secretive administrations ever: the White House of George W. Bush.
Who really makes the big policy decisions?
How do Republicans view the black community?
What went on behind closed doors during the Trent Lott scandal?
How did top White House officials react after the attacks of Septembe 11?
Former special assistant to President Bush, Ron Christie answers these probing questions and many more as he offers the inside scoop―on everything from race issues to major political maneuvers―and provides a refreshingly candid and positive portrayal of our nation's leaders in this must-read for those who want to go inside George W. Bush's West Wing.
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Studio: Thomas Nelson
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.42" Width: 6.54" Height: 1.17" Weight: 1.28 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2006
Publisher Thomas Nelson
ISBN 1595550399 ISBN13 9781595550392 UPC 020049140307
Reviews - What do customers think about Black in the White House: Life Inside George W. Bush's West Wing?
Awesome perspective Sep 21, 2007
"Pulling into the lot behind the Transition Headquarters, I was startled to see several black SUVs parked with their motors running and earnest looking men peering out the open windows - my introduction to the United States Secret Service. My first glimpse of the Secret Service agents drove home the point that I was about to embark on a journey that, if successful, would put me in close proximity to some of the most powerful and important people in the world. Great, I thought, no pressure at all."
Thus began Ron Christie's interview process for a position as a Deputy Assistant for domestic policy to Vice President-Elect Cheney. Throughout his page-turning book, Black in the White House, he weaves stories together from his three and one half year tenure in the White House that make it read more like a novel than a narrative. He provides a unique view of the Vice President, President and their respective staffs that is seldom, if ever, reported by the media. This book paints a portrait that reveals the true personalities of the leaders of the United States and the tremendous responsibilities they have.
Although sometimes sophomoric, maudlin and perhaps even pandering, Christie tells his stories as if he were a child marveling in awe at the world's leaders for whom he was asked to work instead of as a trained attorney who had important work to do. As a Deputy Policy Advisor to Senator George Allen (son of Redskin's coach Allen) for eight years, he was asked by the Republican Committee in December of 2000 to be an observer of the Presidential recount vote in Jacksonville, Florida. Shortly after flying to Florida, the Supreme Court ruled in George Bush's favor, George Bush became Presidential-Elect Bush and Ron Christie was asked to interview as a Deputy Assistant for domestic policy for Vice President-Elect Cheney.
During the waiting process after his interview, Christie candidly reveals his feelings of nervousness and uncertainty regarding his appointment. Waiting for the phone to ring, not sleeping at night, unable to think lucidly, he is no more than an average person waiting to hear the decision about their interview. Throughout the book he demonstrates his role as a normal person who is honored to serve the Vice President, President and his country by easily blending his responsibilities with his humbleness. He also makes it clear that the principals of President Bush's transition team (who would later become the cabinet and advisors after the inauguration) are extremely intelligent individuals who espouse a tremendous work ethnic in serving the Vice-President and President. Concurrently he also divulges their human and compassionate sides that few are privileged to see.
Christie worked intimately with Vice President Cheney's staff including Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, Dan McGrath, Mary Matalin and even Vice President Cheney himself. He tells tales of their dedication, character and wit. In one instance Christie was asked to attend a meeting with Vice President Cheney and noted historian Stephen Ambrose, who
was attempting to restore the Missouri River to resemble its appearance in time to celebrate the bicentennial of Lewis and Clark's expedition. Ambrose indicated that his plan to dam the river was supported in Missouri and in several states downstream. Christie knew that Ambrose's assertion was erroneous and the Vice President, always with razor sharp perception, realized that Christie was uncomfortable and asked him if he had any questions. Christie questioned Ambrose why the Missouri House of Representatives voted 138-0 to denounce the plans and why Governor Bob Holden joined several other governors to write a letter to President Bush voicing their opposition. Not accustomed to being questioned, Ambrose probably expected VP Cheney to chastise Christie. Instead, Cheney asked Christie to draft a letter to Ambrose in which the VP would "express his inability to advocate Ambrose' plan to President Bush".
September 11, 2001 was a day that most Americans will never forget. For Christie and the White House staff it was a day of horror. Not only was the horror expressed for the victims in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon but it also extended to the White House staff that was literally in the direct line of fire. After it was clear that the crashes were an attack and not an accident, the White House staff was immediately escorted out of the building by the Secret Service and told to leave. Unfortunately most of them could not return to their homes since Washington was in pandemonium and all roads were completely blocked; many stayed at friends within the city. Two days later when it was safe to enter the White House the horror was repeated when they again had to be evacuated, this time due to a bomb scare. In essence, the security and comfort that was indicative of the White House had been indelibly shattered. Although terrified to return to the White House, the staff was reminded by Andy Card that they represented the President and now was the time to fight back by going about their business and not being intimidated by fear. Indeed, the urgency at hand changed the course of President Bush's presidency. Christie relates how difficult it was for all the members of the White House to continue to run the country.
In early 2002 Christie was asked to be the Special Assistant to the President to help run the USA Freedom Corps. Although honored to work directly for the President, Christie was torn by the thought of accepting the offer due to his loyalty to Vice President Cheney and also to his aversion of governmental programs, particularly those initiated by former President Clinton. However, after numerous discussions with the staffs of both the Vice President and the President, he learned that the President was a genuine supporter of the volunteerism movement in America after 9/11 and wanted to capitalize on the spirit running through the country during that time. He therefore accepted the commission. Thus began his association with the President of the United States. From Christie's vantage point, in opposition to the media, he saw the President as the leader of staff meetings who utilized the expertise of his cabinet, including the Vice President, for advice. The bottom line was that President Bush was the man in charge of the White House, not Vice President Cheney or anyone else. Period.
Christie did not turn his back on his black heritage and in fact almost resigned due to an incident by Mississippi Senator Trent Lott during Thanksgiving in 2002. While Christie was at his brother's home, Senator Lott was featured on CNN at Senator Strom Thurmond's one-hundredth birthday party. Lott was recalling Thurmond's unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1948 and lamented that Mississippi, which was opposed to integration, was only one of four states that supported him. Lott went on to say, "We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either". Christie and his family were stunned. During the next few days in which the White House said nothing, Christie's parents asked him how could he work at the White House for a man who had refused to repudiate Lott's statement. Christie, wrestling with his admiration for President Bush and his agenda, could not sit by silently. Knowing it could cost him his job, he wrote a note to Andy Card expressing his dismay that the comment was not rebuked by the White House. Card, the Chief of Staff to President Bush and known in the White House for both his intense intelligence and hilarious practical jokes, invited Christie to a private meeting to discuss the relationship between blacks and the Republican Party. When asked to present his thoughts, Christie proposed that Republicans "should not be traveling to black neighborhoods and talking about crime, welfare reform and drugs" but should talk about "tax reform, school choice and home ownership". Rather that "bringing in the gospel choir to sing and sway in the East Wing during Black History month can't we do more than pander to those folks who then start criticizing us the second they leave the building"? Christie suggested that the President "should visit with small business leaders, doctors and investors who support his vision and happen to be black". Andy Card, displaying his honesty and sincerity, became an active participant and devoted significant amounts of his time to find ways in which the President's agenda could resonate with those who were skeptical about his policies.
Black in the White House made me feel that I was actually observing the leaders of the country on a personal level without the critical remonstrations of the media promoting their anti-Bush rhetoric. I was able to see, through Christie's eyes, the leaders in President Bush's cabinet as thoughtful, intelligent and sincere individuals who are honored to spend a few years of their lives dedicated to the President and the country. Although not intended to be an historical document, the book represents a view of the White House and the Presidency that is seldom revealed. It was refreshing to observe the White House from the perspective of someone who loves to be there rather than from someone who is there to condemn it.
Loved this book! Aug 28, 2007
This book is one of my favorites. Ron Christie's persective of the White House workings kept my attention from cover to cover. I have to tell you...his thoughts on some things made me laugh out loud and others made me cry. Thank you for the book Mr. Christie--and you are definitely not a "wart on history's nose". :-)
Where did they find this guy?! Aug 18, 2006
I suppose that if you are a guileless, hard-core reactionary, then you'll really love Ron Christie's no-fault treatise on everything good about W's Whitehouse.
While I am an AA (African-American) with moderate political views, there is something simultaneously self-satisfied and self-hating about Mr. Christie's over-the-top conservative tome in which he anecdotes countless situations in which he is the only person of color in the room (one would not count Conde Rice). Here he finds few faults with the Bush administration while describing his Horatio Algers' climb to middle management in the Republican Guard.
He breathlessly reports of his adventures in becoming one of the youngest African Americans to navigate his way into the echelons of republican politics, without any self-acknowledgment that he may, in fact, just be a "token".
I'd say it was an interesting read if you want to understand how the Republican Party simultaneously manages to find no real value in diversity, while exploiting - in a nominal way - the value of having a symbolic representative.
This is a smug account of his interactions with politicos in the West Wing and it reads like a report on "What I Did Over my Summer Vacation".
Thoroughly unsatisfying for the political junkie Apr 11, 2006
If you are looking for the proverbial "fly on the wall" perspective of the White House, this might fit the bill nicely. Christie gives a very...accessible account of what it's like to work for the President. Unfortunately, Christie's experiences (as he presents them anyway) come across as though he had about as much impact on meaningful policy as a real fly on the wall. Certain passages made me cringe as the author described being nearly paralyzed with awe every time he met high profile people for the first time.
I surely hope this was an editing error that slipped through but on page 233 Christie describes Karl Rove as being "thought by many to be the most powerful man in the White House other than the VP". If that was supposed to be a dig at Bush it's pretty unbecoming considering the way Christie fawns over W through the rest of the book. I STRONGLY suspect a junior proof-reader at publisher Nelson Current let her political views enter into her work and introduced the error as a prank. Pretty funny.
I wouldn't recommend this for those learning about politics, government and the executive branch either. It is too lean on how various departments and individuals work together to implement policy. Also lacking is any insight on how one gets to such a position.
Disappointing Apr 8, 2006
I read Ron Christie's new book as I was looking to find some insight into how the Bush White House works. Having seen the author on a number of tv programs he comes across as earnest, forthright and dedicated to the conservative cause. Unfortunately, he hasn't been in the top echelon of decision-making to warrant a good book. It's too low-level.
I wish Mr. Christie well.....there's nothing more in his book that we already know, would care to know or will find out sooner or later.