Wednesday, November 02, 2005

the Bush administration jobs program.

After the revelations of cronyism in the Bush administration, following Hurricane Katrina, you'd think that the President would hire someone who wouldn't fit this description to lead the rebuilding effort.

You might think that, but you'd be wrong.

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was assigned by the Bush administration on Tuesday to oversee the federal government's disaster-recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast.

Donald Powell, 64, a wealthy contributor to President Bush's presidential campaign, will be in charge of coordinating long-term plans to rebuild the states hit by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The sluggish federal response to Katrina, the first and most damaging of the two, has been widely criticized.

Prior to his becoming chair of the FDIC, he was a banker in Tennessee. While officials tried to point out how that experience and a previous stint as a University administrator qualified him for the job, it still seems that his best qualification is that, as the article says, he was a wealthy contributor to President Bush's Presidential campaign.

Maybe this explains why Michael Brown is still on the payroll at FEMA.


Mark said...

Sheesh, that's terrible... choosing someone that you know for a job. Thats as bad as choosing a long time catholic to be the pope. Why can't Bush be openminded and choose someone he doesn't know. Why can't we have a Hindu Pope?

Cronyism: When you give favorable treatment to people you've met and people who are nice to you and people you know something about.

Noncronyism: When you give favorable treatment to people you haven't heard of.

Eli Blake said...


Cronyism is when choosing the person you know IS why they get the job. Obviously, President Bush knew Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice and Alberto Gonzalez before they got their jobs, but their selections don't qualify as cronyism because they were qualified for the positions for which they were chosen. I may not particularly care for at least two of them, but I can't call their selections cronyism, because it's not.

The problem is that we have seen that the Bush administration is a riddled with cronyism. Not in every single position, but in a great many of them. And frankly, choosing Mr. Powell for his position was political payback, pure and simple. His background does not involve much that would qualify him to direct large scale disaster recovery efforts, despite the best efforts of the Bush administration to suggest otherwise.

I may have wished that Harriet Miers was going to the Supreme Court for instead of Samuel Alito for ideological reasons, but to be intellectually honest, the Miers selection was cronyism and the Alito selection is not. (Not that I support Alito in any way, but 'cronyism' is not one of the charges that applies to him.)

And I think you know the difference, Mark.

Eli Blake said...

Also, Mark:

you (as an employer) and the Catholic Church are both private organizations. So if you want to damage your business by hiring your best friend's son who thinks 'work' is something to avoid at all costs, then I suppose you have that right legally (as long as the hiring was not an open case of race, ethnic, religious, gender, etc. discrimination-- at least unless Mr. Alito is writing the law, in which case that is OK too.)

But people hired within the Federal Government are hired on my nickel (and yours). I understand that George Bush will hire conservatives, so I have no problem with that. But I do have a right as a 'co-owner' of the Government to expect that COMPETENT, QUALIFIED people will be hired. George W. Bush may be the head of the executive branch, but the government is not his personal fiefdom, and he should NOT be in the business of using it to give his friends jobs.

And yes, the 'spoils system' goes way back in history (its fallout even cost us the life of a President, James A. Garfield), and yes, every administration has had its Bert Lance, Ed Meese, its James Baker, its Vince Foster, etc. and they have all appointed someone with questionable qualifications to serve as ambassador to the Bahamas, but this administration has been far MORE riddled with cronyism than others have in the past. Here it isn't about rewarding one or two close personal friends, it's about rewarding a whole bunch of campaign contributors and others who are uniquely unqualified by giving them responsibilities at the highest levels of government.

dorsano said...

I don't have a problem cronyism as long the person's qualified and competent.

shrimplate said...

Competence cannot be bought.

Recent mega-failures by several big businesses have shown that highly-paid management is no assurance of ability to succeed.

But Bush does not know this. Actually, he doesn't know anything.