Saturday, November 19, 2005

More Politics Than Usual Under Bush

The New York Times has this in Week in Review, but it is acutally a review of the last five years of Bush Administration corruption and dishonesty. It’s even getting to be too much for Republicans:

For years now, critics have complained that the Bush administration is equally cocksure, pursuing its political and ideological goals even when they are in conflict with data collected by agencies, analysis provided by professionals and procedures set by law.

Last week, this issue seemed to gain intensity as reports of the politicization of the government made the news almost every day. The pileup underscored what seems to be a consensus in political and academic circles - not only among Democrats but also among Republicans who want Mr. Bush to take a strong hand in shaping policy - that this administration seems more willing than its recent predecessors to bypass the bureaucracy to put its mark on government.

“The Bush administration is certainly not the first administration to do this kind of thing,” said Mickey Edwards, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma who is now a lecturer at Princeton, “but they seem much more heavy-handed about it.”

Later they provide some examples:

In August, the Justice Department demoted a statistician who had worked there for 23 years because, the statistician claimed, he refused to withhold data about racial profiling by police officers.

Last year, referring to matters like climate change and embryonic stem cells, more than 60 prominent scientists signed a statement saying the administration had “misrepresented scientific knowledge and misled the public about the implications of its policies.”

Perhaps the most striking example of the administration’s bypassing the bureaucracy to accomplish a political goal occurred in late 2003 when the Medicare actuary, Richard S. Foster, was told by his politically appointed boss that he would be fired if he gave Congress his best estimate of the cost of the administration’s prescription-drug plan. If he had told the truth - that his projections showed the bill would cost $500 billion to $600 billion over 10 years, not $400 billion, as the administration was saying publicly - the bill surely would not have passed in the House, Republicans and Democrats agree.

Three former high administration officials - Richard A. Clarke, the White House counterterrorism chief; Paul H. O’Neill, Mr. Bush’s first treasury secretary; and John J. DiIulio Jr., who headed the president’s office of faith-based initiatives - complained publicly after they left the government that the administration had repeatedly let politics trump sound policy analysis.


Post a Comment

<< Home