10/14/2005

Daily Kos: Culture of Corruption will be tough to fix

That the Bush administration is openly hostile to science and book-learning is hardly new news, but it is worth reflecting on how quickly they managed to find these new sunken levels of cronyism and corruption, and what a long-term project restoring basic competence to these functions of government might yet turn out to be. We've been losing a great many experienced, apolitical career civil servants, in the Bush years, resulting in a "brain drain" in everything from the EPA to Energy to Customs to the CIA and DOD. And they're being replaced by campaign consultants, drivers, lobbyists and others who the Party owes favors to.

As Hurricane Katrina proved, such cronyism has real-world consequences. But as the brief period after Hurricane Katrina also has proved, the Bush administration functions so completely from cronyism (cough*Miers*cough) that it simply doesn't know how to function any other way.

And I can't find fault with the commenters on Maccabee's recommended diary, yesterday, that observed that party-based loyalty requirements for even midlevel government positions have been typically associated with regimes, shall we gently say, not typically thought of as ideal models for American government. I'll charitably just say that it isn't conservatism as I've typically understood the phrase to mean.

In any event, I'm not sure how far down the basic competence ladder the Bush administration can yet tumble. But when you've even got George Will condemning the "faux conservatism" of the administration, and of key Republican figures like DeLay, Abramoff and their K Street assemblages, I'm pretty sure you've left actual "conservative" government in a ditch quite a ways back.

Daily Kos: Culture of Corruption

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