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July 28, 2008

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The thing that bothered me most was a quote I saw from http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=10928#comments>Balloon Juice: Goodling regularly asked candidates for career jobs: “What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?”

That line just creeps me the heck out.

And note, of course, that in the news reporting, as opposed to the blogosphere, no-one is raising the two real issues:

1) Will anyone face actual criminal penalties - or even just social disdain and negligible career opportunities - for these acitons? The answer appears to be no, which means that we will have more and worse Goodlings in the future.

2) Will any attempt be made to cleanse the civil service of the ideologically pure people installed on the basis of their biases rather than their qualifications? This would be even harder to do, and is even less likely to happen.

What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?

He doesn't make me swallow?

Didn't these knuckleheads learn anything from the dark, incompetent-ridden days of the CPA?

Didn't these knuckleheads learn anything from the dark, incompetent-ridden days of the CPA?

What, hiring young conservative sycophants out of college into mission-critical positions in the government? I think they learned all too well, frankly.

When exactly did we get taken over by the КПСС ?

Honestly. Have these folks ever read the Constitution? Or anything besides Genesis?

Didn't these knuckleheads learn anything from the dark, incompetent-ridden days of the CPA?

Sure, they learned that no-one was punished. A bunch of kids just out of college got the most amazing resumes. A bunch of contractors got a load of money. It sounds like it was a lot of fun, as long as you ignore the real-world consequences; and none of those consequences accrued to them. None are in jail; I'll bet few are none have had any trouble getting nifty high-power and high-pay jobs.

Reconstruction didn't happen, civil order wasn't restored, and those of us who care will be seeing the impact for decades. A lot of Americans and a heckuva a lot of Iraqis got killed or crippled. too bad none of them thought to send their resumes to Heritage.

Or, what Warren said.

Didn't these knuckleheads learn anything from the dark, incompetent-ridden days of the CPA?

Which lessons would those be? For me (and probably you), the lessons are that incompetent but ideologically pure people shouldn't be given lots of authority, especially when there are competent (but less ideologically pure) trying to get the same jobs.

But if you're the kind of person who thought that the CPA was a great organization staffed in a brilliant way, then the lessons may not be so clear. They might very well believe that the CPA's problems in Iraq were due to the rest of the government's unwillingness to adopt the CPA's brilliant hiring policies. As a result, the CPA never got the resources and assistance it needed. For that matter, they might very well believe that the CPA failed because the military failed to assist them properly: if only those damn soldiers did their job properly and secured the country, the CPA would have succeeded spectacularly (leave aside for the moment the fact that this analysis is well beyond insane).

Or they might go even further and assert that the CPA did as well as it could expect to do given that (1) the task set before it was fundamentally impossible or (2) Iraqis are just stupid violent monsters from which no good can come. I actually sympathize with (1); even the best organizations cannot do the impossible.

Buck passing. Its what's for dinner.

Didn't these knuckleheads learn anything from the dark, incompetent-ridden days of the CPA?

I think this is mixing up the chronology. The CPA was a metastasis of the "business model" already put in place for running things here in the USA. Since we don't have a ethno-sectarian civil war tearing this country apart, the defects of this model were more ruthlessly exposed in Iraq than here in the homeland (unless you live in New Orleans).

The CPA was a metastasis of the "business model" already put in place for running things here in the USA.

This is one of the rare times I'll dissent from ThatLeftTurn's analysis. I'll grant that CPA staffing reflected (to some extent) what the Bush administration had done in staffing political appointments and I'll also grant that the CPA was under a great deal more pressure than most government agencies. However, the ideological character of CPA staffing was far more effective than similar Bush administration efforts in the rest of the civil service. Because it was a new organization, the CPA didn't have a core bureaucracy staffed by previous republican and democratic administrations and protected by civil service rules.

Now, it is possible that the nature of the CPA's task was so herculean that even the best staff couldn't have done significantly better than the bench of losers we sent over. Nevertheless, I can't help but think that sending over James Haveman instead of Fredrick Burkle had a detrimental effect on the CPA's healthcare efforts in Iraq.

My problem is that Our America aint black or white or dem or gop – it’s green besides I say work hard and don’t complain nice spot, chk me out one day and if u like what u read, maybe u will come back, even Blog Roll Me

ThatLeftTurn, while the CPA was likely not the first of its sort, even in the Bush administration, it was a big deal, it was criticized on the left and even (to some extent) in the mainstream media, and the revelations were available at least by mid-2004 iirc.

Gonzales, and Goodling, took office in Dubya's second term, so her illegal and partisan actions occurred after the similar partisan hackery at the CPA had been exposed - although I will concede that the complete unwillingness of our government and society to punish the CPA hackery might not yet have been quite so evident as it now is.

LT Nixon- I didn't want to say anything about the CPA because I'm still in college looking for a job.


Because it was a new organization, the CPA didn't have a core bureaucracy staffed by previous republican and democratic administrations and protected by civil service rules.

Turbulence and Warren Terra,

You are of course correct and your points are well put. I was being somewhat snarky, which led a factually distorted comment. Thanks for the fix.

McCain is throwing bombs because it is all he can do. I strongly suspect it will hurt him deeply come November. He can't see past the (attack) message of the day -- I suspect because he has no strategic sense.

The political scientist John Zaller argues that public opinion flows from those with political knowledge and awareness to those with less. Thus, for example, when Gary Hart made a splash against Mondale in the 1984 Democratic primaries, he first did well among the politically aware, followed by the less aware. When Hart's support slipped, it was among the politically aware first.

Bloggers are among the politically aware. It is becoming more and more clear each day how outrageous and unprincipled McCain's attacks are. The politically aware who are independent minded will know this. And then so will the independent-minded masses. I think this will also be the case in regard to McCain's series of statements that display a striking level of incoherence, if not sheer incompetence (cap and trade without mandatory caps; budget numbers that are made up; etc.)

So far tracking polls have not moved much -- just a touch in Obama's direction. I doubt they will. Some resistance to Obama will almost certainly be due to race; some to his short tenure in national level office. But Obama (like Tiger Woods) does not appear to be the sort of person to lose a lead down the stretch. This can only be helped by the likelihood that the Barr-led libertarian ticket might get a couple points (he is not even in the polls at the moment).

Keep the faith. McCain's tactics, to the extent they are over the top, will hurt him. Particularly since they are not based on forward-looking strategy. The striking thing is how well the Obama campaign seems to recognize this -- thus explaining the disciplined response by them thus far.

Because Republicans take terrorism seriously:

and that's the real nut here. they obviously don't, but they've somehow sold themselves as the party that does. and the Dems haven't found a way, yet, to convince people that that elephant has no clothes.

BTW, put me down for "there should be prosecutions" at the earliest possible moment on this issue. The evidence which has already become public very strongly suggests that the law has been broken. I want indictments and trials.

BTW, put me down for "there should be prosecutions" at the earliest possible moment on this issue. The evidence which has already become public very strongly suggests that the law has been broken. I want indictments and trials.

And Ponies!

There won't be any indictments and trials, that may induce them to roll-over on Gonzales and Rove, and the Bushies can't have that.

Ugh,

Darn! - you mean my "pull on the loose thread hanging from the seam of the sweater" strategy is too obvious?

Darn! - you mean my "pull on the loose thread hanging from the seam of the sweater" strategy is too obvious?

Sadly, yes! ;-)

They could let a good company man like Libby go to trial and be sentenced to prison, knowing that he would never give up Cheney or Rove or any of the other important players in the administration, as long as there was an implicit understanding that he wouldn't spend a day in jail. But bumbling two-bit morons like Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson? When faced with jail time they'll both be talking as fast as they can.

@Terragone: It sounds as if you might have meant to post in another thread; perhaps this one?

Jeez, reading the details on this makes me want to throw up. I don't see how the Justice Department can maintain its reputation unless the people responsible for this are punished.

Other highlights from the report include:

Pages 135-136:
Goodling attempted to block the D.C USA from hiring an assistant because she thought he was a liberal democrat and wanted to keep the position open for Republican staffers who might be looking for work after the Republican losses in the 2006 elections.

Pages 50-51:
An attorney who was on a temporary detail had been told that her detail would be extended by her supervisor. That is, until Goodling entered the picture. Even though the "most political thing [the attorney] did was vote" she had her extension nixed and was only able to get a three month extension when her supervisor got down on his knees and begged for a temporary extension.

Man, I'm going to have such a huge party on Jan. 20.

Whether there's a prosecutible offense here or not, Goodling deserves to have this follow her around for the end of her days and f_ck her reputation to no end. It's one thing to be stupid and another to be a stupid ass, but you're in a whole different league when you're a stupid ass cavorting in your stupid assholery at substantial risk to our national security.

@Nell: No, I was responding to the last paragraph of Eric's post:


"The Republican Party under the stewardship of people like George Bush and Karl Rove has lost its ability to effectively govern. Though it started many years earlier with Gingrich and his predecessors. Sadly, McCain has taken the baton from Karl Rove and is lowering the political discourse in ways that can astound even after the last 7+ years of perfidy. What McCain is doing is simply beyond the pale. Or at least, it used to be."

Of course most responses here are about the politicization of the Justice department. I would simply note that Monica Goodling ADMITTED wrongdoing in her earlier Congressional testimony. This report is merely confirmational details of a basic story we already knew.

McCain is throwing bombs because it is all he can do.

Correct.

I strongly suspect it will hurt him deeply come November.

My guess is this is incorrect.

I don't see how the Justice Department can maintain its reputation unless the people responsible for this are punished.

It won't.

Goodling should be charged, found guilty, and sent to jail.

Gonzales should be charged, found guilty, sent to jail, and disbarred.

Look, I'm sure we're all shocked -- shocked! -- to discover that gambling has been going on in the back room, but it's going to freaking KEEP ON GOING ON until folks are made to pay in coin that matters to them.

John Yoo is teaching law at freaking UC Berkeley. Any Berkeley alumni reading this? Get on the damned horn and tell them you want his sorry ass fired.

Will that be hounding him from public life? Yes, by God, it will, and that's the point.

This crap will not stop until these incompetent, unqualified, half-assed, sycophantic opportunistic scheming careerist hacks are driven from public life like the parasites that they are.

Send them to jail. If criminal charges are not appropriate, scrub them the hell out of public life and make them earn an honest living. They could pick up trash, or learn to be plumbers. The real kind of plumbers.

They could work at Starbucks, and drink all the designer coffees their little hearts desire.

Just get them the f**k out of public life.

Thanks -

They could work at Starbucks, and drink all the designer coffees their little hearts desire.

I really like Starbucks when someone else is buying. John Yoo working there would ruin it for me. Let the war criminals work at Hardees or something.

Seriously, though, http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2007/07/l33t-justice.html>KungFuMonkey made an eerie observation about the administration I can't recommend highly enough. Their total lack of shame is astounding.

Did someone say, 'special prosecutor'?

von wrote: " Goodling deserves to have this follow her around for the end of her days and f_ck her reputation to no end. It's one thing to be stupid and another to be a stupid ass, but you're in a whole different league when you're a stupid ass cavorting in your stupid assholery at substantial risk to our national security."

If only the Tsar knew our security wasn't being taken seriously!

The hell with that, you know it wasn't just her. She was doing as she was told to do. By the Bush administration.

This is the kind of thing that leads me to reject the feasibility of "hands across the aisle" and such-like efforts at concensus building.

Say that Obama wins, and decides not to mount a special purge, but just to let well-run regular reviews do their job. So over the course of the next decade or so, as employees of the sort favored by Goodling and her ilk come up for review, are found clearly unqualified, and let go. I don't imagine the conservative noise machine taking that lying down: they'd accuse Obama of gross partisanship and demand that Congress and courts put a stop to it, with precedents running back to anti-featherbedding measures of the Boss Tweed era and before. And it would actually sound plausible to people who don't realize how bad it's been.

There's a defense against that. But it hinges on taking the truth and telling people that the whole administration just past really was that bad from top to toe, with decisions made by people of the sort who fix petty office theft by giving the Mafia and the Bloods all the keys so they can handle security. What looks at first like a totally unfair purge is actually the entirely fair application of standard rules to a particularly unqualified set of targets.

This can't be done if we try to maintain the pretense that it's all good will and we just disagree, ha ha. Crooks got way too much power, by decieving some of the public and by being cheered on by others, many of whom seem to feel that annoying their image of liberals is more important than governing. Those who supported Bush made a bad choice and these are some of the consequences. We can indeed move ahead and fix some of the damage, but not if we pretend that it all just sort of happened by surprise, that nobody could have foreseen, and that the administration's sins (regardless of whether they're crimes) have nothing to do with how the conservative movement's been operating for decades.

Insofar as the fix requires honesty, it cannot be even-handed, because this is not one of those "oh, well, there are nasty extremists on both sides" issues. This is about how a plurality of the country let itself get comfortable with the obvious lies of crooks and bunglers, and about how cleaning them out requires a better guiding vision and real enforcement of standards.

But nothing like that is happening anywhere near Democratic leadership, nor seems likely to anytime soon. Which means that the next 4-8 years will be a replay of the last Democratic administration except more brutally crippling from the right now that they know how much more they can get away with, with wholly unnecessary misery and ineffectual responses leading up to another round of Republican crooks getting all the reins of power for a while. I'm really tired of this. I wish that as a party, the Democrats aspired to more than being the junior party no matter what their actual size and support is. I wish they'd find their Gingrich equivalent and let her or him start getting things done.

But wanting isn't making it happen.

(Which is to say: I'm really trying to disengage from general electoral political hoorah, until I see a solid reason to disengage. Obama still gets my vote. But I'm in the midst of looking at my options for more focused efforts to actually improve the Democratic Party.)

von: Whether there's a prosecutible offense here or not, Goodling deserves to have this follow her around for the end of her days and f_ck her reputation to no end. It's one thing to be stupid and another to be a stupid ass, but you're in a whole different league when you're a stupid ass cavorting in your stupid assholery at substantial risk to our national security.

And remind me again, von, you're supporting John McCain for 8 more years of assholic cavorting just like this - why?

Also, what Bruce said.

One final thing, before I go off for the morning:

Dealing with this kind of problem would be much easier if we collectively put more value on standards that state a clear goal and invite us to rise up to it. The UN election standards do this well - they lay out what a good election looks like and scrutineers see how close they can get to it. A standard of competency for the job whether or not one is in sync with the current administration is easier to talk about than fully spec out, but people in many walks of life do manage to do it. A cultural tilt toward "How much of good thing A can we get, and show that we have to anyone who wants to know?" is just plain healthier than "How much of bad thing B can we scrape on by with, and how much of this can we keep under wraps?"

Obama used to understand that but seems confused about it now, and of course many Democrats are as bad as most Republicans in government about it these days. But I'm not goign to stop appreciating the merits of openness and virtue as standards even as I resign myself to the fact of their remaining out of fashion and see what I can do on the margins.

And now off I go for the day.

[Redacted in its entirety due to it being composed nearly solely of profanity]

bago, the posting rules here include "no profanity".

Ken @5:02-Honestly. Have these folks ever read the Constitution? Or anything besides Genesis?

Sure. Revelations.


Not only do I believe these charges will go unpunished, but those who participated will see their credentials rise and have a well padded resume for the next neocon upswing.

It may be worth refreshing your memory on a publius post from April, The Structural Foundations of Neoconservatism. The Goodling debacle just helps strengthen the foundation for future construction.

Jes- I don't want to speak for Von, but I do get the impression that McCain wouldn't be as crony-ish as Bush. Back in 2000, it wasn't a stretch to see that Bush was the kind of person that would put anyone in a job if they had the connections, money, etc. With McCain, I personally don't get that vibe, although that is a pretty subjective thing.

I do get the impression that McCain wouldn't be as crony-ish as Bush

What has happened to our standards if this is how one is measured?

I might have believed that McCain would be much better on this front months or years ago. But after watching him appoint Rove minions to his campaign who, unsurprisingly, run Rove type campaigns full of lies, distortions, and filth - I have my doubts.

MeDrewNotYou: I don't want to speak for Von, but I do get the impression that McCain wouldn't be as crony-ish as Bush.

I don't get the impression it has ever occurred to McCain that one of the first tasks of the next President is to fix the damage done by the last one: that the cronies put into power and allowed to operate and recruit others like them must be rooted out.

I've no confidence Obama will actually carry out all the firings, investigations, and prosecutions needed: but I admit it has evidently occurred to Obama that this needs to happen.

If Von is actually eager to see the previous administration's cronies kicked out, well, he probably shouldn't be supporting McCain. But he doesn't seem that anxious to explain why he is supporting McCain. Other than, he's a conservative who believes in forced pregnancy, and so's McCain.

MeDrewNotYou: I don't want to speak for Von, but I do get the impression that McCain wouldn't be as crony-ish as Bush.

On what, pray tell, would anyone base this assertion?

Look in a recent issue of the Nation for the article about McCain's "Reform Institute" if you have any doubt that under McCain theoretically nonpartisan good-government strong-society organizations would be subverted to money laundering, peculation, wingnut welfare, and partisan advantage.

Terragone: "Some resistance to Obama will almost certainly be due to race."

Some?

You could never prove this with definitive numbers but I have come to the sad realization that 15 percent of the voting public simply will not vote for a black man.

You could never prove this with definitive numbers but I have come to the sad realization that 15 percent of the voting public simply will not vote for a black man.

Optimistic, hm?

I'm with gwangung. 15% is borderline naive.

Anyone read yesterday's newspaper?

Okay! Okay! I admit it! I didn't put a whole lot of thought into the McCain comment. The Maverickocity got to me for a moment.

(Really, though, after a bit of reflection, I'll defend my original statement by saying I just don't see how its possible for someone to be worse than Bush. Yeah, its one hell of a standard. ^.^ )

Gary- The thought of giving Dick Cheney a 'Freedom Award' just makes my head hurt.

"“What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?”

That line just creeps me the heck out."

I'd like to second, and third that.

Democratic republic, not monarchy. Get it straight! Sheesh.

"“What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want to serve him?”

That line just creeps me the heck out."

I'd like to second, and third that.

Democratic republic, not monarchy. Get it straight! Sheesh.

Oh, the sad thing is that, even if you said that to them straight out, they STILL wouldn't see anything wrong with what they did.

Next time on the Twilight Zone, "To Serve Bush".

"Next time on the Twilight Zone, 'To Serve Bush'."

Damon Knight's famous story long before Rod Serling did anything with it.

But I think Bush would be rather stringy and fatty, and probably full of icky chemicals. You can have my serving.

The whole thing stinks from the beginning of W's administration. Goodling was part of a mass hiring of folks from Regent University's Law School, which was Pat Robertson's foundling. According to the Boston Globe (link via my name) in 2001, the Bush administration picked the dean of Regent's government school, Kay Coles James, to head up White House Personnel. James opened up the doors of government to Regent's grad, placing many in key positions. Goodling was one of those. Regent, according to the Globe's report, was "one of the very worst (and sketchiest) law schools". By the way, Goodling previously worked as an opposition researcher for the Republican National Committee during the 2000 presidential campaign. Go figure. My question is when will we find out the extent of these cheesy hires by James. It could take years to undo.

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