9/25/2005

Daily Kos: Frank Rich's Smackdown On Bush Cronyism-Must. Read.

Frank Rich's Smackdown On Bush Cronyism-Must. Read.
by Maccabee [Subscribe]
Sat Sep 24th, 2005 at 20:08:13 CDT

Nobody has exposed the open sore of bad management in the Bush administration more than Frank Rich's stinging masterpiece. This entire country is being run by political operatives, big money donors, or think-tank bred ideologues.

Ours will be remembered as the Enron era.

--snip--

uninhibited cronyism, cooked books, special-favors networks, the banishment of whistle-blowers and accountability. More than ideology, this ethos has sabotaged even the best of American intentions, whether in Iraq or New Orleans. Unchecked, it promises greater disasters to come.

As recently as 10 days ago, when he resigned before his arrest, Mr. Safavian was the man who set purchasing policy for the entire federal government, including that related to Hurricane Katrina relief. The White House might as well have appointed a contestant from "The Apprentice." Before entering public service, Mr. Safavian's main claim to fame was as a lobbyist whose clients included Indian gaming interests and thuggish African regimes.


* Maccabee's diary :: ::
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These are all the people that got Bush put into power. They are not experts. They are not scholars. They are just political wonks collecting their reward for being loyal.

The Enron odor emanating from Mr. Safavian is of a piece with the rest of the cronyism in the Katrina preparedness package. The handing off of FEMA from President Bush's 2000 campaign manager, Joe Allbaugh, to Mr. Allbaugh's even less qualified buddy, Michael Brown, in 2003 is now notorious. (The two men have been friends for 25 years but were not college roommates, as I wrote here last week.) But that's only the beginning: the placement of hacks like "Brownie" and Mr. Safavian in crucial jobs hasn't been slowed one whit by what went down on their watch in New Orleans.

Witness the nomination of Julie Myers as the new head of immigration and customs enforcement at the Homeland Security Department. Though the White House attacked the diplomat Joseph Wilson for nepotism because he undertook a single pro bono intelligence mission while his wife was at the C.I.A., it thought nothing of handing this huge job to a nepotistic twofer: Ms. Myers is the niece of Gen. Richard Myers and has just married the chief of staff for the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff. Her qualifications for running an agency with more than 20,000 employees and a $4 billion budget include serving as an associate counsel under Kenneth Starr; in that job, she helped mastermind the costly and doomed prosecution of Susan McDougal, and was outwitted at every turn by the defense lawyer Mark Geragos.

Ms. Myers is only the latest example of Mr. Chertoff's rolling the dice with Americans' safety during his brief tenure in Homeland Security. After the bombings in London in July, he vowed to maximize his department's "finite human and financial capital to attain the optimal state of preparedness." Yet the very same day, the president nominated Tracy Henke as Homeland Security's new executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. Ms. Henke, a John Ashcroft political appointee at the Justice Department, has since been unmasked as an Enron-style spinner of numbers. As Eric Lichtblau of The Times reported in August, it was she who ordered the highly regarded nonpartisan head of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Lawrence Greenfeld, to delete a reference to politically embarrassing data in a government press release for a report on racial profiling. When Mr. Greenfeld complained, he was demoted.

Imagine Ms. Henke, in her Homeland Security job, having sway over press releases about our disaster readiness. There is likely to be nothing but Imagine Ms. Henke, in her Homeland Security job, having sway over press releases about our disaster readiness. There is likely to be nothing but good news until it's too late..

Daily Kos: Frank Rich's Smackdown On Bush Cronyism-Must. Read.

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