Posted by Bob on August 13, 2006 at 7:48 pm
Since I am no longer, except in legal terms, a public figure, I want to give you some basic lessons in common sense applied to government.
Reagan had a lot of top-level appointmentees at the P.A.S. (See below) level. He took on a lot of the old Republican gang who had “experience” at the high level, i.e., mostly those who would sabotage his programs, because of their “experience.”
But Reagan had a Shrewd saying about the other thousand appointees BELOW P.A.S. level:
“We are here to clean out the swamp, not to join the alligators.”
For those who have forgotten, I use the capitalized word Shrewd to described the peak level of Dumb. It is mindless tupidity whichisnot just mentioned, but thundered out as Words of Wisdom. The Greatest Generation destroyed our world by beating its chest and screaming out Shrews statements that amounted to pure cowardice:
“I learned in the Service that anybodywho tries to take on the System is just being ridiculous.”
And ad nauseum.
So Reagan said he was going to clear out the entire Washington buraucracy without hiring one single professional.
What this Wise-sounding saying, “We are here to clean out the swamp, not join the alligators” meant, in practice, was that he was not going to leave the cadre in the civil service that every single president has left behind him since the Civil Service was created. He wanted NOBODY among his appointees who would stay on in the civil service after he left office.
Bush was a fool, but he had real experience in real Washington politics. Bush, who was elected as Reagan’s successor, got rid of EVERY SINGLE one of Reagan’s thousand appointees. Bush appointees bragged about which one of them was quickest in getting rid of ALL Reagan appointees.
This was a dirty trick, but normally it would not be a major blow.
You see, EVERY administration normally left a cadre of CAREER employees behind them they had left behind in four, God knows in eight, years in office. That means that if Republicans lost an election, they would still have a cadre of thousands of people INSIDE the Permanent Government they could call to find out what was going on.
Reagan made it his busiess to leave NONE. So when Bush cleaned out his presidential appointees, conservatives did not have a SINGLE source of information INSIDE the government.
That’s what I mean by Shrewd. After 1989, Bus hmoderates and the Democrats had the whole government to themselves.
Now do you understand why, “We’re here to clean out the swamp, not join the alligators” was one of the prime examples of Shrewd?
I will say this for James Watt, one of Reagan’s few P.A.S. hard-core conservatives. He defied Reagan and announced openly that if any Reagan conservative waned a PERMANENT civil service job in his Interior Department, he would find one for them. So I overstated the case, there was a Reagan legacy there.
Reagan appointed my boss as head ofhte civil service. Bless his heart, what a hopeless amateur he was! When I first got there, he got his head yes-man to “show me the ropes.” When we sat down, he immediately pulled out the reorganization plan they had put in place.
I thought, “My Lord (thought the exact was not Lord), they fell for the old Reorganization crap!”
Let me explain. When a potentially radical administration like that of Reagan is elected, the bureaucracy wants to defang when it is in its first flush of revolution. When they first get there, the new administration appointees want to DO something. So when every new president comes in, professional bureaucrats do the same thing. They present the new guy with a Reorganization Plan. He gets to DO SOMETHING.
He gets to do something HARMLESS. He shuffles around the different departments. That is standard. That is something no professional would fall for. ALL the Reagan appointees did that instead of doing anything important.
So while this yes man gleefully described how they had rearranged he chairs onthe deck of hte Titanic, I sat there thinking that I could not possibly be talking to a grown man, much less the number 2 man in charge of the entire United States civil service under Reagan.
To give them their due, I am sure BUSH appointees laughed in their faces when they present this old Reorganization crap.