Friday, March 23, 2007

Looking out for number one - and 43

I'm not a huge fan of David Ignatius but he nails one big problem with the Bush administration in today's op-ed.
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.
Amen. For all their sneering about "limo liberals," the leaders in the Bushland set the standard for political elitism and social snobbery. Whoever first called them "materialistic conservatives" was right on target and if one wants to discover the roots of incivility in our political discourse today, you need look no further than this self-absorbed "I got mine - too bad you didn't get yours" crowd.

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