Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Weighing Obama

The White House has helpfully issued a two page memo titled Speech Topper on the Bush Record for those in the administration that may be having a little trouble coming up with good things to say about Bush's self-designed fairytale legacy. Meanwhile, the GAO released a 150 page list of Bush engineered horror stories that will be confronting the incoming Obama administration when they take office. [pdf] There is virtually no governmental agency that is not entirely screwed up by incompetency and outright sabotage of the public interests.

Read the whole sordid capsule version at the first link at least, but here's a shorter version:
Department of Homeland Security: Failed leadership. No plan to integrate emergency efforts with other agencies in event of a crisis. Wasting bucketloads of money. Programs under its management, including TSA, FEMA, immigration and the Coast Guard have no effective policies to protect from potential attacks or disasters.

Department of Defense: Just as inefficient as it's ever been, only now with more crony corruption. No effective plan to rebuild troop and mission readiness.

Department of Agriculture: Still passing out big bucks to non-farmers and mishandling "high-consequence biological pathogens" at laboratories carrying out agency-funded work.

Department of Veterans Affairs: Completely failing to meet the needs of veterans.

Environmental Protection Agency: Policy decisions being influenced by industry groups. Total failure in safety enforcement.

Department of Commerce: Census bureau = epic failure. (Sidenote - Lieberman chairs the Senate committee in charge of overseeing this agency.)

Department of Energy: Failed leadership, inept project planning and rife with crony corruption.

Department of Transportation: Epic across the board failure. Wanton spending, failure to solve transportation problems and no Supertrain.

General Services Administration: Poster agency for incompetency. Doesn't repair the properties it owns, owns properties it doesn't need and another hotbed of crony corruption on leasing practices.
Worse yet, this is not even close to a comprehensive list. It only addresses the bare minimum of bad pratices and doesn't touch such issues as the politicalization of the DOJ for instance.

Everybody has to do what they think is best to advance the progressive, or whatever cause, they believe in. But this is why I'm willing to cut Obama some slack. It exhausts me to just think about the sheer weight of what Bush has ruined in the last eight years. I can't imagine being tasked with trying to repair it and unlike our current Thief in Chief, I believe Obama genuinely feels that weight and is trying to lift it. I don't know how exactly to help him, and I'm not advocating giving him a totally free pass, but I'm just not inclined to add to his burden as long as he's making a good faith effort to carry it himself.

[More posts daily at The Newshoggers and The Detroit News.]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole thing is appalling. I kind of think one of the first projects should be cleaning up the Department of Justice, because aren't we going to need them as we sort through the cronyism and corruption? I am less than well-educumacated on these matters, though, and am totally stunned at the scope of the problem.

1:26:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I'm finding it hard to comprehend myself Larkspur. I'm struggling to strike a balance between trusting too much and not enough. It's in my nature to trust too much first though. I believe in giving everybody one chance to prove themselves even if I fully expect they'll betray me.

2:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a lot of failure.

I think Obama's picks so far have been aimed at getting competent people. That's the only way this whole mess can be cleaned up. I don't expect every new cabinet member to have a flawless transition and cleanup, but I agree in cutting Obama some slack - he's making the appointments he needs to make to fix this mess.

Plus, part of advancing the progressive agenda is simply cleaning up after Bush. We have a long way to go just to get back to something that resembles the center, but it has to be done, and I will cheer every piece of that clean up along the way.

2:35:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I haven't loved them all Brian and some I've never heard of, but when I consider how momumental the task is, I'm awed that he's willing to take it on at all and feel lucky to have him as our president. The alternatives would have been much, much worse.

4:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always found it amazing that the republicans will work so hard to get elected to the government they profess to despise. They will lie cheat and steal just to get elected. Once there they will take any well run agency and staff it with incompetents, toadies and fools who will work night and day to dismantle good programs and eliminate good people. They will then stand up and say, "Look. I told you the government doesn't work." The Bush Admin did just this to FEMA, EPA, HUD, the Dept of Interior and dozens of others. The job in front of Obama seems impossible and some of his selections are suspect to say the least. He seems to be trying to quiet his detractors more so than pleasing those that got him elected. We shall see, but right now it would seem that he is doing exactly what everyone thought Hilary would do and voted for him because of it.
Jim Martin

11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Jim, I fully expect to be disappointed by Obama. I kept telling the rightwingers I know that he would piss me off more than he would them. But for the moment, all we can do is wait and see what he does once he gets in.

It's tempting to speculate on what Hillary might have done if she had won instead, but I remain convinced she would not have won the general. It would have been a whole different contest between her and McCain.

No matter what Obama does, it's going to be light years better than what McCain would have.

12:07:00 PM  

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