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Cronyism

 

Via Instapundit, I found this Washington Post article, that cites cronyism in the Bush administration.

Five of eight top Federal Emergency Management Agency officials came to their posts with virtually no experience in handling disasters and now lead an agency whose ranks of seasoned crisis managers have thinned dramatically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

But scorching criticism has been aimed at FEMA, and it starts at the top with [FEMA director Michael] Brown, who has admitted to errors in responding to Hurricane Katrina and the flooding in New Orleans. The Oklahoma native, 50, was hired to the agency after a rocky tenure as commissioner of a horse sporting group by former FEMA director Joe M. Allbaugh, the 2000 Bush campaign manager and a college friend of Brown's.

Rhode, Brown's chief of staff, is a former television reporter who came to Washington as advance deputy director for Bush's Austin-based 2000 campaign and then the White House. He joined FEMA in April 2003 after stints at the Commerce Department and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Altshuler is a former presidential advance man. His predecessor, Scott Morris, was a media strategist for Bush with the Austin firm Maverick Media.

David I. Maurstad, who stepped down as Nebraska lieutenant governor in 2001 to join FEMA, has served as acting director for risk reduction and federal insurance administrator since June 2004. Daniel A. Craig, a onetime political fundraiser and campaign adviser, came to FEMA in 2001 from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he directed the eastern regional office, after working as a lobbyist for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.


That pisses me off. But at the same time, I'm thrilled.

I'm nowhere near naive enough to believe that cronyism is new in Washington or to the White House. I expect that Washington is riddled with it and that no politician is clean of it. We're human, and we tend to aggregate with people whom we trust. Or, worse, we might hire someone to reward them for past loyalty or favors. But it's a bad practice. It's an uncapitalist approach, as it's completely without merit.

I'm not surprised that Bush did it. When a president comes into office, there are a ton of jobs to fill and the hiring and assigning and appointing is fast and furious. I'm quite sure that many people are in positions that they don't deserve. But here's why I'm thrilled...

This increasingly transparent world in which we live exposes much that has gone unnoticed in the past. Cronyism is a malady that has plagued American government since, well, probably its inception. But with this scandal, it's less likely to happen in the future. More people will pay attention to appointments and hirings and assignments in future administrations. That's a very good thing.

So the question will become how good someone might be at hiring people whom they don't know... which might mean that it takes a bit longer to fill positions. But hopefully it means that the people employed are actually well-suited for the positions in which they work.

 


by Brett Rogers, 9/10/2005 9:11:26 AM
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