Monday, June 30, 2008

Happily Ever After...

And they lived happily ever after? Are they going to the chapel and going to get married - oops they’re already married. But isn’t unity wonderful? If everything’s so great, where is Bill, the loving spouse? Never mind. Thank God they kissed and made up, now maybe old white women will vote for young black Barack. No more will there be a great rush to support McCain. The Democratic Party will survive and grow strong. Mark Penn and Mandy Grunwald will make their millions. Their children will be able to go to fancy Washington private schools. We will whip those Republicans in the Fall. I seem to be whipping myself into a frenzy, so I’ll take a minute to calm down.

I don’t mean to be mean or cynical. Well, maybe I do. But it’s great that all the Democrats have united around Obama. Do you know if you change just one letter on the word united, it becomes untied. Don’t look for anything sinister in that I just made a typing error and noticed it. Anyway, it’s terrific that for a price (retiring her debt), Hillary is willing to campaign actively for Obama-or at least appear to support his candidacy. I think she indicated in her speech that if her debt were retired she would have more time to campaign for Obama. I guess what bother’s me is not the actual retiring her debt, but the fact that she used terrible judgment in her spending and incurred the debt with a group of apparently talent free consultants, who despite their lack of competence are now rolling in dough. It’s like the “Song That never Ends. It will go on and on my friends.”

Dead is dead as my mother says, so let’s move on to something that bothers me even more - the elimination of political positions in the government. There was an article in the Washington Post last week that addressed the issue of Presidential transition and filling critical political appointments at the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. There are a number of allotted political jobs in the Government. Political appointments are those the President gets to fill. The President doesn’t really do it but the transition team, or White House personnel does. Those jobs are usually given to donors, people who worked on the campaign, people with whom the candidate has a relationship, loyal Party people and maybe even some folks with a expertise in an issue area. In the Bush Administration many jobs were given to people from Texas who unfortunately didn’t have a brain anywhere to be found. Or friends of people from Texas who has similar mental capacity-you remember Katrina and Brownie - “Brownie, You’re doing a heckuva job!”.

The article talked about how there should be Civil Servants trained to fill those jobs until the President’s political appointments are finalized and confirmed by the Senate if required. Sounds sensible doesn’t it? But aye here’s the rub (the pirate inference is intentional) or here’s the reality. Political people can burrow-yes like rabbits. They can secretly convert to civil service status. It takes a little time but it can happen. So, suppose you are a political appointment at Homeland Security and you don’t want to leave your cushy job at the end of the President’s term. You will have had to think of this before (my guess is many have already done so), but you can convert from political to career employee. OK, so now you have a person who has converted, (it’s like being born a Catholic and deciding you want to be a Jew, but you don’t want to give up Christmas), from political to career in a job that was political but you need to fill it with a career appointee until there is a new President. In other words you will have a Bush Republican in a job that should be held by a McCain Republican or an Obama Democrat. The political appointment slot disappears and in it’s place is a career appointee who in their hearts remain loyal to George Bush. Isn’t the American government great!

The problem is, as you can imagine, that the civil service hates political appointments. And why shouldn’t they? Many politico’s, having spent years in the campaign trenches, fighting to get their candidate elected, come into Government thinking they know everything and the Civil Service personnel knows nothing. They treat the civil servants like second class citizens. In return, the civil servants make it as difficult as they can to implement change. The career appointees love change in Administrations because it takes years for a new Presidential team to figure out how to do anything. By the time they figure it out there’s another election and new people - unless political people burrow into slots that were political and become career. I know none of this is easy. It took me years of government jobs at the highest levels to figure it out. So here’s the bottom line. The President gets to run the government with his or her (at some point) own people. Unless their own people have no place to be. Which might very well happen if George Bush’s people get to fill jobs prior to the next Presidential transition. Oh My! We’re just sayin…. Iris

5 comments:

Iris and David said...

this from Marthena

"Your blog on poltiical appointees reminds me of Molly Ivins great line at the beggining of a new Texas legislature session, "All over Texas, villages are missing their idiots." Well, the Bush Administration sure gave political appointees something to live down. Boy, and did they ever? I agree that each President earns the right to shape the policy of the government - therefore appointeees in key position are critical."

Belle's Dad said...

Wow .....

Billary must have recently learned the new skill sets of poise and grace, which unfortunately for her, she now finds necessary to forgive that mean old Obama for ruining her perfect little fairy tale life. Worse, "the kiss and make up for the good of the party illusion" is nothing more than a "Show Me The Money". Known by a different name, this act is illegal in 49 states, the exception being Nevada.

And hopefully, conventional wisdom will show that the D O D W W P (Dreaded Old Democratic White Women's Party) will forgo Obama, noting that he and Billary have become the fakest of fake best buddies only to gather their votes
- and did you mean 'Shawn' Penn?

Were just hopin....

Bebe Bahnsen said...

Marthena, thanks for that great line from Molly Ivins. I'm still laughing.
Iris, you were great last night on MSNBC. You were born to be on TV. Get those clips around to everybody. You go, sweetie.

Anonymous said...

Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn't express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach

Anonymous said...

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing