Archive for April 8th, 2007


What me think of the long piece below was Lord Nelson volunteering to be my THIRD technical assistant in taking care of my problems with this log. It is important to you to realize HOW I delegate tasks.

First of all, I do not to be a go-between. That is what STAFF is EXPERT at doing. At first, of course, one needs to be VERY careul to check in before doing everything, to get a feel for the rules. As I said, AT FIRST staff had to check with me a lot. But I can still avoid being a go-between. In the ITEM below, I showed how I got three people TOGETHER to begin with.

Tom took the lead here, he is machinating even as we speak. Pain asks “what’s next?” Both are good responses. A staffer must find his own niche at this level. We’re not hiring day labor here, we’re hiring BRAINS.

So we need to start with complete meetings via e-mail. That means that ALL correspondence should be by e-mail with all four of us present. I don’t want to have to report to each one what the other is doing.

So I need permission from all three TAs to give each of the others his e-mail address and any other contact info he feels might be useful. The e-mail is all that is essential, but I am VERY touchy about nettiquette relating to e-mail.

I am

After all those years of being available day and night, and I mean REALLY day and night, I am exhausted with it, so don’t feel like I insulted your mother if I don’t respond quickly. We have the ORIGINAL TA, Kelso, and he IS available 24/7. If you can’t reach him by phone quickly, PM him. He makes me in my prime look like a particularly depressed sloth.




One of the accomplishments I still cackle over in my senility will be familiar to those of you who have spent a lot of time in the job market. Ideally your resume should show a steady progress in income. On two very separate occasions in Washington, I had people offer to take A CUT IN PAY to work for me.

Inside the Beltway, each time this caused a sensation. The reason these people wanted to work for me was because of the way I delegated. Let me give a quick talk abut inside-the-beltway jobs.

First, EVERYBODY who takes a Cabinet-level-type job takes a giant cut in pay to do it. When Vice President Nixon lost the 1960 election, his consolation prize was a job with a California law firm that paid a BASE SALARY of $920,000 a year. That was in 1960 dollars!

I have never even heard of a congressman who left office for anything but prison who didn’t more than double his income after his defeat or resignation. In 1981 sat with a guy from Silicon Valley who was literally CRYING because he had been denied a Deputy Undersecretary appointment at around $120,000. He had to go back to his miserable job with a BASE – not including options, etc. – pay of $500,000 a tear.

We can all understand this. If you already have money you want in on the titles and power.

Another category is the professional bureaucrat. That is job security squared and cubed. You want to take orders and retire with a minimum of effort.

The least known is my category. People could and DID get fired on the phone on Capitol Hill. It was called The Last Plantation because job security was zero. Presidential appointees were in the same position. A book on Workaholics made the point that, while people think the center of Workaholism is New York, it is actually DC.

But this is NOT because appointees and Capitol Hill staff were scared of losing their jobs.

Capitol Hill offices were lit up like a Christmas tree at 2 in the morning on holidays because we had Potomac Fever. This is the disease you get when you suddenly realize that what you are doing, for once, is critical. This is a different KIND of people.

But even THEY want to keep their resumes clean. They avoid a lower-paying job, one that looks like they failed, like the plague. But in my case, I was EXACTLY the person some of them wanted to work under.

Some staffers describe their success by the amount of time they spent with the Boss. The LAST thing I wanted to do was to waste my Boss’s time. This became a bit confusing to the “I talked with the Senator for two hours yesterday” types. It was confusing to them because I kept getting more and more responsibilities dumped on me.

When he hired me John AshBROOK, not Ashcroft (vomit!) had a head of staff, an Administrative Assistant, official number 2 man, and a Legislative Assistant. Two years after I got there both were gone. John talked with them abut an hour a day. We almost NEVER talked at work.

John found that he didn’t even need to look up once. He told me what to do. I had studied his positions and background, and he said more than once to others “I’d rather have Whitaker there than me.” He would send word to me that he had an interview with the press, and said, “Let Bob take it.”

Once he looked at an Op-Ed I wrote for him and said, “Damn I sound GOOD!” John was a newspaper PUBLISHER himself, so I wasn’t working with an amateur here.

When took over the Education and Labor Committee Republican staff as Ranking Member, he gave me three difference offices in three different House Office buildings, one of which was my old desk next do to him.. Again, this was unprecedented.

The reason I could do all that was because I delegated like HELL. Also, the kind of people who were NOT “I spent an hour with the senior congressman types” were DESPERATE to work under me.

ITEM: The ant-whites pulled an end run to impose racial quotas on all private schools. The Carter Administration simply told the Internal Revenue Service to promulgate the rules and declare that any school that didn’t meet its affirmative action ruled would lose its tax-exempt status. Richard Viguerie said n the New Right Papers that my victory over this was the real beginning of the New Right.

But AS ALWAYS, nobody noticed this end run but me. Conservatives had bigger fish to fry, and they felt Carter had just outsmarted them again.

I sent a memo to John, got a firebrand in my staff together with a major private school lobbyist and a young lawyer on the Crime Subcommittee on which John was Ranking Republican, and sicced them on it, full-time. Once he got started, they knew what was to be done, he knew.

I was ALWAYS available, but it was THEIR job. They climbed all over Capitol Hill. They became known as John Ashbrook’s spokesmen, through Whitaker, who everybody knew was his spokesman, and when they needed to talk to me, which they did a lot at first, I could be reached at home or office 24/7.

By the time we beat the INS rules by a four to one margin on the House Floor, with 431 members voting, they were what the Mafia would call “made men.” And it was the Ashbrook Amendment. A whole constituency of private school parents and teachers and administrators became Ashbrook fanatics.

So people wanted desperately to work under me In the Mafia, one requirement of becoming a made man was that you had to kill somebody. So I guess working for me in DC was a bit like being in the Mafia and having the boss who handed out the hits.