Friday, November 14, 2008

Looking for Mister Smith

By my own estimation, there are well over one thousand "political appointees" who will be descending on Washington in the next few months, comprising the policy-level leadership of the Executive Branch of government. (It has quite an effect on the local real estate market every four years, as you can imagine, but I digress...) Earlier this week, we read of where these people come from, as well as where they won't. In yesterday's New York Times, we find out what awaits them:

A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive — some say invasive — application ever.

The questionnaire includes 63 requests for personal and professional records, some covering applicants’ spouses and grown children as well, that are forcing job-seekers to rummage from basements to attics, in shoe boxes, diaries and computer archives to document both their achievements and missteps.

Only the smallest details are excluded...

(Registration may be required to view complete article.)

If this all sounds like a piece of cake... well, you're an idiot. That, and you obviously don't know how much trouble some of Clinton's senior appointees had with their background checks. Do you really think it's going to be easier for Obama's people? These questions were rather "invasive" before 9-11. They only got harder after that.

There is no doubt the the first 48 hours of the Transition was a real education for the President-Elect. For all the spin, for all the stump speeches about Hope and Change and Whatnot, he learned in his first high-level intelligence briefings, that the world is not such a Huggy-Bear place after all. We are dealing with people who want this country burned to the ground. Now he knows the full measure of what they are willing to do to make it happen.

Obviously, inviting these guys to hold hands and sing Kumbaya is out of the question.

It already appears that there will be a number of "retreads" from the Clinton administration. To be honest, we could do a lot worse. There are some areas of government that are not so ideologically charged, and Clinton's people did enjoy success in some of these areas. (Some of my readers will find that hard to believe. If I didn't work in Washington, so would I.) The course of this process could prove very illuminating, and could see the next President "hope and change" his way to the ideological center.

THIS JUST IN: Former domestic terrorist William Ayers appeared on ABC's Good Morning America to promote his new book, and to prove once again the gullibility of the American electorate: "I don't buy the idea that guilt by association should be any part of our politics." Ayers confirms he held a coffee in his home for Obama that helped get Obama's political career started, which Obama denied in his third debate with McCain. Ayers also confirms he knew Barack Obama through their work together on the board of the Woods Foundation.

Ayers remains unrepentant about his activities with the Weather Underground in the 1960's and 1970's, including setting off bombs at the United States Capitol and the Pentagon. In fact, he defends what they did again in this interview. Obviously he won't be filling out one of these forms. At least one of his known associates won't have to.

[IMAGE: Two of the 63 requests for personal and professional records from a questionnaire for applicants to the Obama administration. Some requests cover applicants’ spouses and grown children. Image courtesy The New York Times. Used without permission or shame.]

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