Thursday, July 31, 2008

Career Advancement

Headline in the New York Times: For White House, Hiring Is Political

On May 17, 2005, the White House’s political affairs office sent an e-mail message to agencies throughout the executive branch directing them to find jobs for 108 people on a list of “priority candidates” who had “loyally served the president.”

“We simply want to place as many of our Bush loyalists as possible,” the White House emphasized in a follow-up message, according to a little-noticed passage of a Justice Department report released Monday about politicization in the department’s hiring of civil-service prosecutors and immigration officials.

The report, the subject of a Senate oversight hearing Wednesday, provided a window into how the administration sought to install politically like-minded officials in positions of government responsibility, and how the efforts at times crossed customary or legal limits.


“We pledge 7 slots within 40 days and 40 nights. Let the games begin!” Jan Williams, then the White House’s liaison to the Justice Department, said in an e-mail message two days later.

Within a week, messages between Ms. Williams and the White House showed, she began trying to match the White House-vetted names of people who had been “helpful to the president” — like campaign volunteers — with openings for immigration judges, positions that are supposed to be filled using politically neutral, merit-based criteria.

If you make your pledge before midnight, you also get the Armstrong Williams DVD collection, and they’ll also include this lovely set of matching steak knives as a bonus!

Spare me the argument that “every administration does it.” That’s like excusing driving 120 mph on the interstate when the speed limit is 70 and everybody else is nudging 75. Besides, when you frame it in the language of “loyally serving the president,” you’re getting into the creepy territory of “Come and kneel before Zod!”