Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove's political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates.Seriously...the GSA? But then, David Ignatius as the Washington Post wrote just a few days ago about the utter contempt the politicos in the Bush administration have for anyone whose loyalty is to something other than President Bush and his political machinations:
With GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan and up to 40 regional administrators on hand, J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26 of polling data about the 2006 elections.
When Jennings concluded his presentation to the GSA political appointees, Doan allegedly asked them how they could "help 'our candidates' in the next elections," according to a March 6 letter to Doan from Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Waxman said in the letter that one method suggested was using "targeted public events, such as the opening of federal facilities around the country."
Waxman's investigation began in response to a Jan. 19 story in The Washington Post about a no-bid job Doan tried to give to firms run by Edie Fraser, a veteran Washington public relations executive who had served as a paid consultant to Doan. Waxman's investigators concluded that the two women had "a long-standing business relationship" that was not "previously disclosed," according to Waxman's letter.
Between 2003 and 2005, Fraser billed Doan as much as $20,000 a month in consulting fees to "generally promote attributes" of Doan and her company, New Technology Management Inc., according to invoices obtained by The Post. In all, Doan paid at least $417,500 to companies affiliated with Fraser before Doan took over the GSA, according to Waxman's investigators.
Last year, Fraser helped prepare Doan for her GSA confirmation and lined up political support for her, according to interviews and e-mails obtained by The Post.
This week's obits included an 86-year-old research physicist with the Navy; a 57-year-old Justice Department trial lawyer; an 86-year-old administrative law judge; an 85-year-old Foreign Service officer who served with her husband in Saigon, Kabul and Rome; a 95-year-old woman who was a CIA officer for 25 years; an 87-year-old woman who served in the Women's Army Corps in World War II and stayed on at the Pentagon.He's exactly right. In the Bush administration, there's nothing wrong with civil servants and political appointees using (or being forced to use) their connections and influence to advance the interests of the Republican Party. After all, it serves the greater good...of the Republican Party. Loyalty to something like say, the United States of America, or devotion to the integrity of one's job, is treated with utter hostility, probably because the political operatives secretly know that they are in the wrong, and that their hold on power is tenuous and requires the utter destruction of anyone who opposes them. The last six years are evidence of how poorly a country is run when those who govern have no loyalty to anyone but themselves.
What infuriates me about the Bush administration is its disdain for people like these. You sense that scorn reading the e-mails that have surfaced in the flap over the firings of U.S. attorneys.
Here's Kyle Sampson, now-deposed chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, griping about a U.S. attorney in Phoenix who had the effrontery to want to make his case personally: "In the 'you won't believe this category,' Paul Charlton would like a few minutes of the AG's time." And here's Brent Ward, the director of a Justice Department task force who made his name as an anti-pornography crusader grumbling that he doesn't want to deal with the U.S. attorney in Las Vegas: "To go out to LV and sit and listen to the lame excuses of a defiant U.S. attorney is only going to move this whole enterprise closer to catastrophe."
The Bush political operatives have become the people the Republicans once warned the country against -- a club of insiders who seem to think that they're better than other folks. They are so contemptuous of government and the public servants who populate it that they have been unable to govern effectively. They are a smug, inward-looking elite that thinks it knows who the good guys are by the political labels they wear.