Sunday, May 07, 2006
"Personnel Is Policy"
Pachachutec over at Fire Dog Lake on just why the Bush Junta is so messed up -- and what we must do to regain our democracy.
To put it simplistically, there are two models for government in transition. The Chinese model, in which even a takeover by the Mongols doesn't change the bureaucracy in the slightest, and the Jacksonian one, in which a change of government means even your mail carrier changes.
The Chinese model does have longevity to recommend it, but the American model is, well, how we tend to do things. Over the years since "to the victor go the spoils" became the motto for government, we've developed the civil service to moderate the Jacksonian tendency.
This has the unfortunate side effect that when change is needed, it's difficult to accomplish. The CIA and the Pentagon need real reform. The people who have been working there have developed a culture that is very resistant to change. And that culture leans much farther right than is healthy.
Now, maybe a mutiny in the army or an economic crisis or Bush wandering onto a stage drunk and naked will shake people's world view enough to get them to understand the depth and urgency of change that is needed. But I will predict that in order to achieve the degree of change necessary to save this country, a lot of civil servants and uniformed military will have to be encouraged-- even forced-- to retire. Judges and generals especially. When that time comes, I will be very much behind the idea that "personnel is policy."
The problem isn't that "personnel is policy" is a stupid idea. It's that Bush's personnel are stupid, necessary to implement a stupid policy.
More blogs about politics.