Tuesday, January 10, 2006

So now that he has seen his ratings drop, people get tired of endless war in Iraq with no fixed end in sight, no plan to help people afford their medical bills, and an economic 'recovery' that seems to be leaving way too many people working jobs that pay less than they need to live on, has he changed?

No, not at all. That distinctive hallmark of corruption in the Bush administration, cronyism, is alive and well, as showed by his recess appointments this year. Of course, since Republicans control the Senate, these recess appointments mean that they were so questionable that he couldn't even get 50 Republicans to vote for them.

Who were his recess appointments?

Well, there was Julie L. Myers to head the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau at the Department of Homeland Security, in a maneuver circumventing the need for approval by the Senate.

Myers, a niece of former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Richard B. Myers and the wife of the chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, had been criticized by Republicans and Democrats who charged that she lacked experience in immigration matters.

Just in case you hear Bush making a big deal about immigration this year, well who did he put out in front on the issue? The wife of a party hack. Of course, this is crony Myers with a 'y', we saw crony Miers with an 'i' this fall.

There is also, Tracy A. Henke as executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness. She had been accused in her politically appointed post at the Justice Department of demanding that information about racial disparities in police treatment of blacks in traffic cases be deleted from a news release.

Considering how much black people in New Orleans suffered and in many cases believe that the whole disaster preparedness system was tilted against them, doesn't Henke's appointment just breathe sensitivity?

Who else?

How about, former Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey as assistant secretary of state for population, refugees and migration. Sauerbrey is an opponent of abortion rights. This article doesn't mention it, but Sauerbrey also ran the Bush-Cheney campaign in Maryland.

And then there is the Bush appointee to the nonpartisan Federal Elections Commission:

For the Federal Election Commission, Bush picked Justice Department employee and former Fulton County, Ga., Republican chairman Hans von Spakovsky for one of three openings. Von Spakovsky is widely viewed as a key player in two disputed Justice Department decisions to overrule career staff in voting rights cases.

But, he was the Republican county chairman.

Not, to be sure that the Democratic choice is necessarily much better:

A Democratic vacancy will be filled by union lawyer Robert D. Lenhard. He has provoked opposition because of his participation as an attorney for the American Federation of State, Council and Municipal Employees in efforts to have the Supreme Court rule that the 2002 McCain-Feingold law is unconstitutional. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) indicated that he would fight the Lenhard nomination when Democratic leaders first announced it in 2003.

I could find a Democrat who is better suited than that, and probably without leaving my county. I guess he wants a return to the bad old days of huge amounts of money from nameless groups being spent on false smear ads the day or two before the election.

But in terms of cronyism, this administration would give a run for its money to any administration from the Gilded Age. Maybe that is not a bad comparison, we certainly have the Jay Goulds, the Andrew Carnegies, the Jim Fisks, the John Jacob Astors and the Diamond Jim Bradys running the show. All that is missing is a gunboat diplomacy war where we take it upon ourselves to spread American 'freedom' to Cuba and the Philippines and then get stuck fighting the people we 'freed' in the Philippines (then again, we for all intensive purposes have that one down too.)

If it gets much worse, maybe I'll just buy a tophat, a monocle and one of those bicycles with the big front wheel, grow a well-waxed handlebar mustache, and join a barbershop quartet.

Yup, that's the America the Bush clan really never left, and they'd bring it all back for the rest of us if they could.

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