This is surprising. President Bush has signed an executive order, that according to the NYT requires each federal agency to "...have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee, to supervise the development of rules and documents providing guidance to regulated industries..." That policy office is required to "...analyze the costs and the benefits of new rules and to make sure the agencies carry out the president’s priorities."
What the NYT fails to mention is that this executive order is actually only updating one originally signed by President Clinton under the "reinventing government" push of the early 1990's. It's implementing the "good guidance practices."
The angle of the NYT article is this "This strengthens the hand of the White House in shaping rules that have, in the past, often been generated by civil servants and scientific experts. It suggests that the administration still has ways to exert its power after the takeover of Congress by the Democrats." An angle confirmed by Columbia professor Strauss, is "Having lost control of Congress,” Mr. Strauss said, “the president is doing what he can to increase his control of the executive branch.”
That's just not right. The meat of this order was orginally published for public comment on on November 30,2005. Heck, the comment period was even extended and the Whitehouse got 30 plus comments on the thing. Why wasn't any of this in the NYT story?
If the NYT story is right then Bush knew he was going to lose Congress over a year before the election. The other option? NYT got the story wrong.