National: Photo Has Nothing To Do With Article; I Just Like Running That Photo
Cronyism, again. The old Busheroo II, appointing the unqualified to crucial policy positions, not because they are qualified, but because they are loyal to the old Busheroo II. You would think that the White House would have learned from their tragic experience with former FEMA head Michael Brown, and what’s-her-name, the office helper he tried to appoint to the Supreme Court because she never talked back to him and went to church regular and never said anything bad about him behind his back, according to the secret White House surveillance system. And let’s not forget Condoleeza Rice, Bush’s former National Security Adviser, who lost the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon because she just couldn’t appreciate how significant the threat of Al-Qaeda really was. But she was loyal, and she says whatever the President wants to hear—so she wasn’t fired; she was promoted.
It’s clear now that cronyism is boiler-plate administration policy; a non-negotiable feature of the Bush adminstration. Another example: their appointee for Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness. The problem for the Bush team was to find a point-man, a go-to guy in case of a major outbreak of bird flu or a devastating bio-chemical attack by terrorists. Some tough, experienced administrator with a proven history of dealing effectively with crises and, more importantly, fighting proactively for measures that prevent crises from turning into disasters.
That was their problem, to find a qualified candidate. But there was an even bigger problem, and that is the fact that Bush and Cheney are truly horrified by the prospect of appointing anyone who will speak the hard truths they need to hear.
They want a crony, a sycophant, a time-server who tell them what they want to hear. So instead of appointing Major General Armstrong “Old Reliable” McExperienced III, former chief of NATO Anti-Bioterrorism Operations and Evacuation and Emergency Strategies, and instead of appointing Professor Ludwig von Eckshpert Massif-Brrrraine, current head of the Smartological Institute for Epidemiological Counter-Measure Studies and five-time winner of the Nobel Prize for “Preventing A Terrorist Attack Involving A Weapon of Mass Destruction”—instead of them, Bush appointed another unexperienced (sic) nobody, whose duties will also include kissing Bush’s ass and telling the press that the President is “the smartest man I’ve ever known.” (See photo, above.)
So instead of an expert, they appointed Stewart Simonson. Who? Well, he was hired out of law school to assist the Governor of Wisconsin, Tommy Thompson. And then when Thompson was made President of Amtrak, he got Simonson a job at Amtrak, too.
And that’s really the guy’s whole resume on dealing with devastating biological warfare and disasters. After the Amtrak job, Thompson took Simonson with him into the federal Health and Human Services Department, which automatically makes you an expert on dealing with public health crises, somehow, I guess.
You’d think they would have learned after Rice and September 11th, and you’d think they would have relearned after Brown and Katrina. But it’s much more important for them to have political loyalists in key posts than to risk receipt of criticism from an appointee who really knows what she’s doing. For Bush and Cheney, it’s better that Americans die of administrative incompetence than have the shortcomings of White House policy pointed out by a competent but “disloyal” appointee.
I know (and you know) that the world is growing more dangerous. And the Bush administration regularly announces this every twenty minutes or so, to both rally and terrorize their base. But I don’t think the Bush administration really accepts it as fact. If they did believe that the world was growing more dangerous, why would they appoint a former corporate attorney for Amtrak to protect the U.S. population from bio-terrorism and avian flu deaths? How is a guy like that gonna protect us from bio-terrorism? He couldn’t even protect us from the Amtrak snack bar.
Yeah, how about that, why doesn’t Simonson appoint the guy who runs the Amtrak snack bar to be in charge of emergency food distribution in case there’s a health care crisis? That guy never said anything bad about the President, and his family could use the money. And what about the emergency water supply? Where’s that chick who brought the President a glass of water this morning, she’s a registered Republican, isn’t she?
“We take these ‘cronyism’ allegations very seriously,” comments a Bush administration spokesman, “And we are appointing a special commission to look into them, which will be headed by the kid who brings in the donuts.”