Bring It On!

Sean M. Gerlich v. US Dept. of Justice

July 7th, 2008 | by Omnipotent Poobah |

Amongst the administration’s multitudinous scandals and dubious actions is the question of whether the Justice Dept. was too zealous in choosing only employees and interns who were politically Bushonion clones. Now - after Roberto Gonzales has been kicked to the curb and Karl Rove and others have been subpoenaed - the case of Sean M. Gerlich joins the saga of 9 fired US attorneys.

Gerlich applied for an intern position at the DoJ and was rejected despite a reportedly impressive resume. Now, he’s filed suit charging job discrimination. He believes they turned him down because of his volunteer work for Amnesty International and a Democratic candidate running for state assembly. For loyal Bushies, association with either of these causes is tantamount to treason. Heaven forbid an intern seize the reins of power and steer us out of Iraq or something. Heck, not even Monica could do that, and she was blowing the Commander-in-Chief. His rejection is especially ironic since Gerlich says, “I’m not actually especially liberal, particularly as regards anti-trust law, the area in which I applied. I’m right of center.” Apparently not right enough though.

Over and above DoJ’s dubious hiring practices - already being investigated by their own Inspector General - this penchant for ideological purity is what has created an administration shackled to a myopic, insulated view of the world. They’ve created the same type of organizational family as a human one bred only by marriages between parents, kids, and first cousins. It seems Dubyatarians like to swim in the shallow end of the political gene pool and that’s not healthy for them or the nation.

DoJ’s ‘No Shit’ Moment
The DoJ’s response is to overhaul their hiring practices in advance of the IG’s report - a report that admits ideology-based selections, “can also create the appearance that candidates are being discriminated against based on political affiliation.” However, their “no shit, ya think?” moment comes 7 years and 8 months too late for it to do any good.

I happen to agree with John “I Lost an Election to a Dead Guy” Ashcroft’s former mouthpiece, Mark Corallo, about patronage jobs. I just don’t go so far as to imply the DoJ’s actions are OK. “Elections have consequences,” Corallo said. “I expect the next attorney general will be seeking to hire people of like mind. There’s nothing criminal, sinister, or out of the ordinary. It’s normal.” That’s true, except maybe the illegal part, but there’s a fine line between employing “people of like mind” and hiring interns by Googling which political groups they belong to.

Express Lane to an Incompetent Regime
Many Republicans maintain that hiring people based solely on ideology is an essential way to make sure government departments toe the political line. But, left unchecked, it’s also the express lane to an incompetent, bloated, totalitarian regime. The Soviet Union didn’t collapse because of Communism, it collapsed because their toadies couldn’t deliver a loaf of bread without a 5-Year plan revised every 6 months. Being good on the cocktail circuit or donating lots of money is no indicator of success and both Republicans and Democrats should remind themselves of that daily. We’ve had far too many boobs in top spots for the country to function.

I think Corallo’s statement sums it up perfectly, but not in the way he intended. Elections do have consequences and Republicans are belatedly finding that out in a pointedly harsh way. There’s not a surer way to piss off two-thirds of the electorate than to choose an unending string of incompetents who don’t have the presence of mind to choose a martini or a cosmo at the State Dept. mixer. I’m not naive enough to think it’ll happen, but I’d rather see patronage go away for all levels of the government below cabinet secretary. You’ll still gets some idiots, but at least you have a fighting chance to limit the number of them. There’s also one more thing I wish, though I don’t think it will happen.

I hope Sean Gerlich takes them for all their worth.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

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