This has become a huge
issue after the Michael Brown fiasco at FEMA. Americans saw
the incredible incompetence following Hurricane Katrina, and
then learned that Brown was not qualified for the job. He was
a loyal Republican, and that's why he got the job.
Following Brown's resignation the issue of cronyism and competence have remained in the spotlight. President Bush probably shot himself in the foot with nomination of Harriet Miers, as many conservatives howled that she was not qualified for the position.
The New Republic has put together a list of the 15 biggest Bush administration hacks.
Harriet Miers Nomination
The cries of cronyism following this nomination have been loudest from the right.
Andrew Sullivan highlights the following quote from John Podhoretz, making the case that Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers will reinforce the emerging criticism of Bush that his administration values political loyalty over competence and qualifications:
"Another reason for Bush not to pick ... Gonzales or Miers is this: One of the Democratic talking points that is getting some traction is the Crony Talking Point -- the idea that this presidency is made up of friends and friends of friends who all do business together and whose qualifications matter less than their connections to GWB. Since nobody on earth aside from Bush would actually consider Gonzales or Miers a suitable Supreme Court nominee, the appointment of either would smack precisely of the cronyism with which he is (in my view) being unfairly tarred. Bush would be giving his critics some very serious ammunition to use against him at a time when he can't afford to do such a thing."
Jonathan Turley is not a conservative, but as a legal commentator he tried to describe the appropriate standards for a Supreme Court nominee. He also addressed the issue of cronyism, pointing out that Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers specifically condemned this practice as it applied to the Court. Hamilton wrote that a president should be "ashamed and afraid to bring forward ... candidates who had no other merit than that ... of being ... personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure."
The 36 year-old Myers is George Bush's pick for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. This is a big job, with a $4 billion annual budget and over 20,000 employees. Why does this selection fit Bush's pattern of cronyism? Her uncle is Air Force General Richard B. Myers, the departing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. She is also married to Michael Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood. In a hearing before a Senate committee, GOP Senator George Voinovich told Myers that her resume did not indicate that she was qualified for the position.
Conservative firebrand Michelle Malkin ripped the choice, calling it a joke. Malkin and other conservatives deserve credit for joining the calls for President Bush to stop the cronyism, particularly for positions involving national security.
In an editorial, the National Review urged the president to withdraw Myers.
Myers was recently approved by a Senate committee despite claims from Democrats on the panel and many conservative commentators that she is not qualified. Voinovich changed his mind and voted for her, again showing that he's all talk and will tow the party line when push comes to shove.
Comments, questions and suggestions can be sent to Gerardo Orlando at email@example.com.
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