Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The cronies are coming, the cronies are coming...

Main Entry: cro·ny·ism
Pronunciation: cro-nE-"i-z&m, noun - partiality to cronies, especially as evidenced in the appointment of political hangers-on to office without regard to their qualifications. See also George W. Bush, 42nd President of the United States
- from Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Last month, President Bush said he would "lead an investigation" into why the federal response to Hurricane Katrina was so lacking. I have an idea (well, ok, it’s not totally my idea, other people have suggested it also), but, in order to guarantee "we can respond properly," maybe Bush should stop putting political cronies in key positions.

Wow, that’s a concept.

(Why did this topic suddenly pop up on this blog – well, I’ll get to that later, but here’s a hint: it has to do with Bush’s new supreme court nominee…) My personal feeling (and that of other informed and intelligent people) is that, ultimately, the federal response to Katrina was so poor because (hold on to your hats, you may be surprised by this statement) the people in charge had absolutely no exerience in that type of role.

Shocked and appalled, aren’t ya?

You want examples? Ok, here’s one Michael Brown, (Some of you may know him better by his presidential-given nickname “Brownie”) the former FEMA director. Previous experience? Well, he led the Arabian-Horse Association…that’s exactly like creating an emergency management plan, right?

Last year, when Brownie threw millions of dollars to Florida, some Republicans began to say that Brown could be a successor to, then Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. (all together now: aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Run for the hills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) But alas, Katrina was (way, way, way) too much for Brown to handle and he and his top two deputies at FEMA lacked emergency management.So, don’t you think that Bush would learn his lesson.

Qualified people + Disaster = better response to disasters (Am I oversimplifying this, it’s a pretty simple concept isn’t it? Or am I using too much logic? That must be it)However, we all have learned that this president is stubborn as a mule.

Of course, when it comes to homeland security or disaster management, you'd think Bush might not want to be stubborn, lest he be faced with additional political embarrassments.

Not so.

Bush nominated Julie Myers to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Homeland Security agency that is charged with hunting down money launderers, sanctions busters and human traffickers and is the sole enforcer of U.S. immigration laws. The agency,with 20,000 employees, is the second-largest investigative agency in the federal government.

I know what you’re saying. You’re saying ‘that that is quite a job and someone better have some strong qualifications.’ By the way Kemp, what are Myers’ qualifications?’

I’m glad you asked.Myers' top qualifications? She's a former chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff when he was at the Justice Department, she recently got married to Chertoff's current chief of staff John Wood, and she is the niece of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers. Many on the beltway in DC have speculated that Bush nominated Myers as a political favor to Chertoff, a Bush-sycophant in the highest order.

‘That’s impressive Kemp, but what are her professional qualifications?’

Professional qualifications? Uh, I’m not sure. Let me research that…


…yeah, she doesn’t have any. At least she doesn’t have any when it comes to immigration and custom’s enforcement.

In fact, during her confirmation hearing her resume was found lacking.

Ohio Republican Senator George Voinovich stated; “I'm really concerned about your management experience. I think that we ought to have a meeting with Mike Chertoff to ask him why he thinks you're qualified for the job. Because based on your resume, I don't think you are.”

Now, placing political allies in ambassadorships and undersecretary positions is one thing, and something that has been done throughout history. The problem with this one is that Myers, like ‘Brownie’ before and Ellen Sauerbrey (nominatied to head the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration which is a key agency for responding to foreign disasters – like the Asian Tsunami) later could make decisions that could save or cost lives.

(Sauerbrey, by the way, is a former member of the Republican National Committee who was Bush's Maryland state campaign chairwoman in 2000 and has been a conservative activist for decades. Did I mention that she has no experience mobilizing responses to humanitarian emergencies? I didn’t? Well, consider yourslef notified)

That's far away from the decisions made by the ambassador to the Federated States of Micronesia (thank you West Wing) or Freedonia (thank you Marx Brothers)

No, you know that someone with common sense would learn not to give vital posts like this to individuals who have no experience in that field. It’s just to bad that our current president has no common sense, or at the least, he’s ignoring it. No matter what the consequences might be.

Now, I am not naïve, I know that appointing political allies to government jobs is a tradition in Washington, but, having said that; the refugee bureau is a complex agency with a very broad range of responsibilities and past administrations, (Republican and Democrat), have generally turned to someone with, you know, some technical expertise and knowledge to head it.

Which brings us to the nomination of Harriet Miers as the next justice on the Supreme Court…

But that’s for another day…


TTAG said...

You hit the nail on the head Kemp! You and Scott are absolute geniuses. Keep up the good work!Check out my site, you'l lov it.

Anonymous said...

Cronies have always been a part of politics. Bush has just made it an art form.