The most important administrative aspect of the George W. Bush presidency was not its formal management reform agenda, but its attempt to extend the politicized presidency. Efforts to assert tighter political control of the federal bureaucracy, revived during the Ronald Reagan administration, were pursued to an extreme under Bush. Loyalty triumphed over competence in selection, and political goals displaced rationality in decision making. However, the strategy of politicization undermined the Bush administration’s own policy goals as well as its broader agenda to restore the strength of the institutional presidency. This apparent failure of strategy signals the urgent necessity for a fundamental reconsideration of the politicized presidency.