Shocking Revelation, Republicans Hire Republicans
Posted by Warren Peterson on June 26, 2008
There are two ways a President of the United States can continue his influence long after leaving office. The obvious one of course is the appointment of judges. Another, which gets little note until now, is the hiring of civil servants. The incoming administration generally replaces political appointees from the outgoing administration. But people hired under civil service may stay as long as they are breathing. This explains why a new cabinet secretary may have problems changing policies or reorganizing when the implementing staff has allegiance to the opposite political party or has been in place so long they are incapable of change..
The Seattle Times reported on June 25, 2008 that “Justice Department officials illegally used ‘political or ideological’ factors” when selecting new lawyers for elite training programs. It seems that conservative candidates were selected over “more qualified candidates with liberal-sounding resumes.” Later in the article we learn that “Inspector General Glenn Fine said he wasn’t able to prove that officials intentionally singled out applicants” but “investigators had found enough of a pattern to indicate that political or ideological affiliations were being weighted in 2002 and 2006.” It seems that writing an opinion piece objecting to the Patriot Act, opposing Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court, working for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton or putting a derogatory cartoon about President Bush on My Space were all possible reasons for not being selected for an “elite recruiting” program in a Republican administration.
I understand the “spoils system” went out with “Old Hickory.” I know we want to encourage the best and brightest in public service. But then, we tossed such thinking aside when it came to favoring someone for a job based on race or gender so why not affirmative action for conservatives. Justice is supposed to be ideologically blind but you’d have to be truly blind not to recognize the clear differences between Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Antonin Scalia. So I have sympathy for the political appointee manager, trying to be fair and impartial, who interviews some new graduate whom obviously holds contrary political views. After all, how many foxes should the farmer be expected to put in the hen house?