A few months ago, Dday started to sound the alarm about “burrowing” by Bush administration appointees:
This is about getting civil service protections for hardcore conservative loyalists. In past transitions, this has been done to protect new rules or regulations that the outgoing President would like to see maintained, and that’s true here as well. Recent rule changes in the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service will be harder to reverse with a champion inside the agency. But I hardly think it ends there. The same with all those career Justice Department officials whose political ideology was a factor in their hiring. And burrowing all of these officials at once will ultimately make it harder to root out the partisan career personnel who were hired into the civil service in the first place.
In a few years, we’ll see some whistleblower on Hardball, talking gravely about corruption in the Obama Administration, and she’ll be feted by the gasbags and made into a media darling. And nobody will notice the fact that she was hired by Monica Goodling.
It’s also about creating mischief: the DOMA brief is a Republican operative’s dream come true. After all, Obama is now being heavily criticized by his base. And there was no reason to write the opinion in the way that it was. The administration could have simply argued that their standing and jurisdiction were inappropriate. But, by using the same arguments used against interracial marriage, this brief was highly inflamatory.
I’m not saying that the appointee doesn’t actually believe this–he very well might. But the brief could have been written a different way to achieve the same result. I truly doubt that the Obama administration wanted such an inflammatory statement, nor do I think that this is what Obama believes (although I don’t think he’s that gay friendly either). The Bush appointee had to know that this would not be an argument that would reflect well on the Obama administration–and that it was not the position of the administration.
This isn’t to say that the Obama administration is at fault. If this was an instance of political ‘dirty tricks’, someone could have and should have caught this. But this is definitely just the beginning of what will come.
Hopefully, some people have learned a lesson from all of this.