A Wednesday WaPo “Turd Blossom” Tantrum

March 4, 2009

roveAs long as our beloved corporate media believes that Karl Rove should be given a forum to spew partisan bile, then I guess it will be incumbent upon me and others to clean it up and sling it right back at him.

Today in the Washington Post, Dubya’s “boy genius” rants as follows…

…the Obama administration is ahead of the confirmation pace of previous administrations, but it should be. Changes in law and the energetic cooperation of the Bush White House made it easier for Team Obama to get its people in place quicker than any administration in history. There have, however, been many more fumbles than should have occurred. These have generated bad headlines and a slower-than-promised pace in filling the government. For that, the Obama White House has only itself to blame.

Though these are slight digs at Obama, I should note that, as nearly as I can determine, Bushco did basically effect a relatively smooth handoff to the Obama Administration (go figure – it took their departure to actually do some things right…no tales of missing “W” keys, for example; I should point out, though, that I’ve seen some reporting on that from our corporate media, and I’ve also seen some thorough debunking on other blogs about it as an urban legend of sorts, so I’m more inclined to go with the latter).

Back to Rove (still ignoring a congressional subpoena, by the way)…

The (Obama) vetting process has been poorly executed and consistently sloppy. Were potential nominees asked the catch-all question all recent administrations have asked about anything in a nominee’s background that could embarrass the president-elect? Or did this administration simply have an overabundance of office seekers with unpaid taxes or ongoing federal investigations? The White House that hired the Democratic Party’s best opposition researcher to work in the Counsel’s Office apparently didn’t subject its own nominees to the same level of scrutiny it intends to provide its adversaries.

Har dee har har har! – OMG, it is definitely waaay too funny to hear Rove complaining about a “level of scrutiny” a presidential administration “intends to provide its adversaries” considering that he found all kinds of ways to politicize governmental bodies that had been pretty apolitical until the dark days of Bushco beckoned (he also participated in the so-called “White House Iraq Group,” whose job it was to sell this country on the war, and he also said that “liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers”…all of that and more is noted here – and the crack about “ongoing federal investigations” is particularly uproarious given the story from the CNN link).

Also, on the matter of Dubya’s transition from the Clinton White House, it should be noted that it was a “mixed success” you might say, which was partly due to the contested 2000 presidential election over the Florida vote and the court proceedings that followed, as noted here (the General Services Administration wouldn’t allow funding to transition team head – heh – Dick Cheney until an electoral winner was decided).

Generally, President Bush was given a lot of credit for having his cabinet appointees in place early despite the problems surrounding the election. However, the administration was not so effective in filling the top federal posts. In fact the Brookings Institution concluded that, “On average, Bush appointees were confirmed 8.5 months after the inauguration compared to 2.3 months during J.F.K.’s administration.”

Furthermore, there were many key federal vacancies left unfilled in the administration for up to twenty two months. This was well after September 11th. In this environment many Clinton appointees were asked to serve on including Richard A. Clarke at the National Security Council. This touched off a mini firestorm of controversy between the new Bush II administration and the conservative interest group community. The infighting at the sub cabinet level was intense and involved controversy over an appointees’ ideology. Those especially targeted were Clinton appointees and this controversy well exceeded the month of March in the new administration. In fact the phrase “complete and total disarray” was used to describe the first month in Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s office. Of course it did not appeal to conservatives that the early Bush Administration was reaching out and discussing cabinet posts with prominent democrats such as Senator John Breaux from Louisiana.

…There was a sense that the Bush II Administration was going to do thing differently than the Clinton Administration. Any Clinton policy advice was suspect. Thus newness and hubris helped to cancel out any benefit of advice derived from the Clinton people. This, would in turn impact policy and affect the tragedy of September 11th. Former president Clinton recalls giving incoming President Bush advice concerning terrorism and security issues with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda at the top of the list. President Bush changed to subject from policy to the nature of the president’s job. Again newness, hubris and perhaps a little naiveté were at work here. One way of combating these traits is to think about formal, mandated and structured ties to both incoming and outgoing administrations.

Really? Why, color me shocked!

So basically, Rove has no room to criticize Obama or his people for the incoming transition; both teams did some thing right and both teams did some things wrong (more wrong, on balance, on the Bushco side of the ledger by all appearances).

Besides, if Rove is going to criticize Obama for his appointments, he should try criticizing his own party for its pointless opposition to the incoming Labor Secretary first, as noted here.

Update: Color me skeptical over this, by the way (particularly since it’s being reported by Pickler – my guess is that Conyers caved because Obama didn’t want to have to make the call; if that turns out to be wrong, I’ll let you know).

Update 3/6/09: Kudos to Think Progress for this.

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