Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Michael Brown and Harriet Miers have caused the spotlight to shine on the Bush Administration's remarkable track record of promoting unqualified Bush cronies to positions of power and responsibility. The New Republic lists top 15 of the Bush "Hackocracy." Just two examples:

No. 13. Claire Buchan, Chief of Staff, Department of Commerce: She used to be a White House Deputy Press Secretary, "a public affairs underling for the Treasury Department under former President Bush, a flack for the Republican National Committee, and (during the Clinton years) an image czar for the lawn care, extermination, and appliance repair company ServiceMaster. Some of Buchan's erstwhile colleagues in the White House press corps were left speechless when her new assignment was announced in February. One White House reporter who worked closely with Buchan for five years called her 'the most useless in a Bush universe of enforced uselessness. She took empty banality to a new low.'"

No. 3: Rear Admiral Cristina Beato, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, Department of Health and Human Services: In June 2004, Cristina Beato admitted to her hometown newspaper that she hadn't paid much attention to the details of her resumé. That's too bad, because those silly little details seem to have stalled her confirmation for assistant secretary for health for over two years now. Beato said she earned a master's of public health in occupational medicine from the University of Wisconsin (but the university doesn't even offer that degree). She claimed to be "one of the principal leaders who revolutionized medical education in American universities by implementing the Problem Based learning curriculum" (but the curriculum was developed while Beato was still a medical student). She listed "medical attaché" to the American Embassy in Turkey as a job she held in 1986 (but that position didn't exist until 1995). She also boasted that she had "established" the University of New Mexico's occupational health clinic (but the clinic existed before she was hired, and there was even another medical director before her). For her part, Beato has offered a simple explanation: English is her third language, after French and her native Spanish, and sometimes the language barrier is just too much to handle. How does one say "pants on fire" in Spanish?

And that's just two on the list. Sheesh.

I guess I don't mind being loyal to one's friends and getting them positions in the government. Most administrations have done it. But at least let them be qualified for the job. As it stands, it is an insult to the taxpayer who pays their salary, the department that is saddled with apparent incompetents, as well as the government employees who work with and under these hacks.

Anyone who wants to talk about "good government" and "government waste" should start by looking at the hackocracy.

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