An Inside-the-Bushies Mentality
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. I don't think the story is much of a scandal. U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, and he can fire whomever he wants. What interests me about the Justice e-mails is that they are a piece of sociology, documenting the mind-set of the young hotshots and ideologues who populate the Bush administration.First, where Ignatius gets it wrong, "I don't think the story is much of a scandal. U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, and he can fire whomever he wants". If those firings interfere with justice it is a scandal. That's what we have seen here, the attempt to turn the justice department into a political tool. The full extent of this will come out when we start looking at the justices that weren't fired. The rest is right on the money - arrogance and the contempt for government and the public servants that make it work. This was also true of Ronald Reagan but the Bushies have carried it to new heights with disastrous consequences. This is all part of the tribal aspect of the Republican Party I discussed here. And of course we can't stop with the Bush administration, they enabled the arrogant neocons. For an example see the quote at the top of the right sidebar.
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.
This contempt has been evident in many of the administration's failures. The disastrous incompetence of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 flowed from its status as a clubhouse for ambitious conservatives eager to punch a political ticket in a country they knew nothing about. The political purges that enfeebled the CIA in 2005 were the work of a conservative former member of Congress, Porter Goss, and a coterie of political aides he brought from Capitol Hill who thought they knew more about intelligence than career professionals. The administration's signature failure, its bumbling response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was the work of a right-wing political appointee who knew almost nothing about disaster management and who scorned many of the bureaucrats who worked for him.
David Boaz writing at CATO has a problem with Ignatius using the word ideology when talking about the Bushies.
But there are few if any ideologues in this administration. What would their ideology be? Certainly not any previously known variant of conservatism. “Compassionate conversatism”?! Right. Country-club Republicanism? Maybe, but I think that’s a mindset at best, not an ideology.He makes a good point, they are not “ideologues” but cultists and there is a big difference.
I think Ignatius actually knows this. Later in the column he writes: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.
But that’s not an ideology. That’s just partisanship. Us vs. them. Red vs. blue. “We need those people out, We need our people in,” as the previous First Lady put it. It’s pull and power and personal loyalty.