by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[E]very post-World War II administration has been plagued by infighting.
That infighting is the subject of Tevi Troy’s superb new book, Fight House. The book is full of gossip, which makes it fun to read. But Tevi also ties the gossip to the way each administration played out, including its policies.
Tevi identifies the three key ingredients that can contribute to, and determine the extent of, infighting in an administration. They are ideological discord, a flawed White House process, and the president’s tolerance for infighting.
But it’s the clashes themselves, especially those involving titans, that make Tevi’s book so enjoyable. …
… Nearly all of the presidents Tevi covers could have have handled the infighting in their administrations better. However, only Lyndon Johnson comes off looking evil.
Tevi does not devote a chapter to the Trump administration, though he does discuss it in his concluding chapter. I hope that one day Tevi will update his book with a chapter about infighting in the Trump White House. Make that several chapters.
In fact, my only regret about Fight House is that it doesn’t cover more administrations. I was sad when the book ended.
But it’s not Tevi’s fault that he didn’t write a longer book. There has always been infighting within administrations (think of the clash during George Washington’s administration between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton). However, the level of infighting Tevi describes is a function of the rise of the White House staff, a fairly recent development.