July 31, 2008


For White House, Hiring Is Political (CHARLIE SAVAGE, 7/31/08, NY Times)

On May 17, 2005, the White House’s political affairs office sent an e-mail message to agencies throughout the executive branch directing them to find jobs for 108 people on a list of “priority candidates” who had “loyally served the president.”

“We simply want to place as many of our Bush loyalists as possible,” the White House emphasized in a follow-up message, according to a little-noticed passage of a Justice Department report released Monday about politicization in the department’s hiring of civil-service prosecutors and immigration officials.

The report, the subject of a Senate oversight hearing Wednesday, provided a window into how the administration sought to install politically like-minded officials in positions of government responsibility, and how the efforts at times crossed customary or legal limits.

Andrew Rudalevige, an associate professor of political science at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania who studies presidential power, said that while presidents of both parties over the last half-century had sought ways to impose greater political control over the federal bureaucracy, the Bush administration had gone further than any predecessor.

The core premise of "civil service reform" was the elitist notion that elections shouldn't have consequences and that government should be run by professional bureaucrats, anathema to republicanism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 31, 2008 7:33 AM

While your last sentence is 100% true (and very insightful), you make the mistake of equating "loyalty" with political and policy affiliation.

First, it is easy for even Bush supporter (like me) to notice the incompetence and low character and acumen of some of these appointees (Chertoff, the indicted HUD guy, and the FCC idiot), and second, it is entirely possible that Bush knew full well their lack of character and acumen, and appointed them out of "loyalty" to Bush's cabal, and not to Bush's policies.

Happily, we Wahoos in Talk Radio spared the nation from the very high likelihood that Harriet Miers was a Souter on steroids.

Loyalty has its limits, and the Bush Administration is the text book case proving the point.

Posted by: Bruno at July 31, 2008 8:29 AM

Miers religious beliefs mean she would never have been like Souter. Plus, she was close to the President who knows her far better than you do.

Miers would have voted to overturn Casey.

Alito is certain to turn into Anthony Kennedy or O'Connor or Blackmun one day. A bland, establishment "conservative" who likes the NYT praise.

Posted by: Bob at July 31, 2008 9:56 AM

The FCC guy is only opposed by the whackos. Americans want broadcasters regulated.

Posted by: oj at July 31, 2008 10:34 AM

Polticians letting politics influence hiring?
Never heard of such a thing before!

Posted by: Mikey at July 31, 2008 11:53 AM

Bob, I couldn't agree more about Alito. We'll live to regret his confirmation. I loved the idea of Harriet Miers on the court for a whole bunch of reasons starting with she sent the dems in congress into over-drive insanity.

Posted by: erp at July 31, 2008 1:21 PM

Of course the Left wants "non-political" hiring. They've already made sure the pool of candidates is weighted in their favor, so even a random selection will benefit them. And if it was the reverse, they've be the first to demand that the President have greater leeway in staffing his own administration.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at July 31, 2008 1:39 PM
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