Sunday, September 18, 2005

Even After FEMA Embarrassments, Bush Makes Another Questionable Political Nomination

In the days leading up to FEMA Director Michael Brown's resignation, it became clear that not only was Brown not qualified for his job, but the #2 and #3 appointees at FEMA also lacked emergency management qualifications.

How does this happen? Because the White House and its cabinet secretaries rewarded political friends, placing party before country. In past administrations, fund-raisers like Brown would have been given ambassadorships to countries with little chance of upheaval -- like New Zealand or Fiji.

So, after the limp federal response to Hurricane Katrina, which led to Brown's removal and a rare mea culpa from President Bush, wouldn't you think the Bush Administration would learn from such an obvious mistake?

Not so, apparently.

Julie Myers was nominated by Bush to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency that is charged with hunting down money launderers, sanctions busters and human traffickers and that is the sole enforcer of U.S. immigration laws. ICE, with 20,000 employees, is the second-largest investigative agency in the federal government.

Myers is a Brooklyn attorney and former chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, when he ran the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice. Some think she was nominated as a reward for her work with Chertoff, rather than for her qualifications.

During her confirmation hearing Sept. 15 before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, her resume was found lacking.

"I'm really concerned about your management experience," said Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio), a leading critic also of Bush's nomination of U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. "I think that we ought to have a meeting with Mike Chertoff ... to ask him ... why he thinks you're qualified for the job. Because based on your resume, I don't think you are."


The law establishing the Department of Homeland Security specifies that the head of ICE should have at least five years management experience in law enforcement. Myers just gets over that bar.

But Voinovich told United Press International after the hearing that he was concerned that -- aside from two years in Brooklyn -- she had spent little more than a year in each of those positions. "So often you really don`t get into the depth of managing until you been some place more than a couple of years," he said.


Blogger HonestJournalism said...


Am I'm sure that everyone Jimmy Carter and - gasp - Bill Clinton appointed were 100% qualified for their jobs?

If you believe that, then you'd believe George W. Bush is from Vermont.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

honestjournalism, I fail to see how Carter/Clinton appointments are germane to the discussion. Carter left office in 1981, Clinton in 2001. Criticism of their administrations, while an interesting historical endeavour, doesn't improve our current administration.

Bush came in to office claiming to want to fix a good number of things. If Clinton's appointees were so poor, you'd think Bush (whose party also controls the Senate, making confirmation of appointees pretty simple in most cases) would have put his money where his mouth was and appointed people who he could point at and say "see, I'm appointing more qualified people than past presidents". Sadly, the right seems content to say "well, OK, but Clinton/Carter did it". Funny, when Clinton got a blowjob in the White House that didn't make it "OK" for Republican presidents...

11:42 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Bush is the one who keeps saying "we're safer." Didn't the FEMA mistakes prove we're not? Shouldn't Bush redouble his efforts to appoint good people now, rather than face the embarrassments of more "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job(s)" later.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous woodsprite said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:45 AM  
Anonymous woodsprite said...

When Carper talked yesterday, he said 5 of the 8 under Brown were highly questionable and did not appear qualified for the jobs.

Edited to add: He said some good things about Voinovich, but then amended to say that there was not much that you could do if you were republican and wanted to stay in politics other than tow the line.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous genius said...

It happens because Reid doesn't do his job. He's supposed to find out whether these guys are qualified and oppose them if they are not.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that makes no sense, genius.

5:02 PM  

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