Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Apparently cronyism is alive and well even after the Michael Brown debacle.

Ellen Sauerbrey, President Bush's pick to head the state department's Refugee Program, apparently was chosen primarily because she is a career Republican politician and a Bush loyalist.

The State Department's refugee and migration program needs a chief with experience handling crises of displaced people, Democrats said Tuesday.

"It doesn't appear that you have very specific experience," said Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., during Sauerbrey's confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee.

"I don't think we see the requisite experience that we've seen in other nominees" for the job, added Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

Sauerbrey, a two-time Republican candidate for Maryland governor who ran Bush's 2000 campaign in the state, said she had the management, budgetary and humanitarian experience of three decades of public service and, currently, as U.S. envoy on women's issues to the United Nations.

Sounds to me like the only relevant experience she has is the UN position, and all that really proves during the Bush administration is that she has some experience working with John Bolton. I'm not sure how losing two races for Governor and running the Bush campaign in Maryland (also a losing one) is having the "management, budgetary and humanitarian experience" necessary to do the job.

Then again, though, I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised. It's hard to imagine George W. Bush ever making refugee issues a high enough priority to actually appoint someone who is ready for the position.

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