President George W. Bush’s penchant for cronyism has achieved infamy by now. Apparently, he thought a friend with no judicial experience and simplistic legal reasoning, Harriet Miers, a dandy choice for the Supreme Court. The highest court in the land isn’t for brilliant thinkers, after all, but long-time pals.
Also, of course, the President believed a failed horse breeder with no disaster response ability, Michael Brown, a fine selection to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency. New Orleanders know what a swell job Brown did.
The article “Welcome to the Hackocracy” in the October 17, 2005, issue of The New Republic details more instances when, while filling government positions, the right politics mattered more than the right resumes. A suitable motto for the Bush White House would be, “Who needs knowledgeable experts when we have loyal sycophants?”
Bush has not contented himself with cronyism at home. As a headline from the front page of today’s Washington Post reads, “Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuild Iraq.” This excerpt from the article reveals how the Bush administration decided who would lead Iraq’s reconstruction:
To pass muster with O’Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn’t need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.
O’Beirne’s staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade.
What was the attitude of many of the Bush lackeys in Iraq?
“I’m not here for the Iraqis,” one staffer noted to a reporter over lunch. “I’m here for George Bush.”
The President’s staffing decisions for the Coalition Provisional Authority crippled it when intelligent rebuilding of Iraq could have dampened or prevented the insurgency. Thousands of Americans and Iraqis might still be alive today if the executive branch had sent professionals rather than ideologues to Iraq.
As Commander-in-Chief, Bush has failed his soldiers. As Head of Government, Bush has failed the American people. As leader of Iraq’s democratization, Bush has failed the masses of Iraq. Never in history has an American president failed on this many levels with such profound consequences. This writer used to think denouncing Bush as the worst president ever was hyperbole. But, now, he’s starting to believe the label is accurate.
In concert with illegal wiretapping, torture of detainees, and interpreting away provisions of laws he’s signed, this shouts the need to impeach and remove Bush from office. His behavior cannot stand before history as proper in a chief executive.