Dog Bites Man

I can’t wait for the day when stories like this drive Hugh Hewitt into paroxysms of righteous outrage again.

Edgar A. Domenech says he thought Justice Department officials would welcome information about mismanagement at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Instead, the 23-year ATF veteran says, Justice officials ignored his complaints and later retaliated against him by demoting him, denying him a bonus and attempting to give him a poor job review.

And again and again. I emphasize this kind of story because there really is a best practices for running a functional government. People do a more competent job under the threat of transparency and adversarial oversight. Take that away and you eliminate the disincentive for slack, graft and letting mistakes of every magnitude slide uncorrected. To the degree that whistleblowers are actively protected, shitty managers and government programs that fail for whatever reason can be exposed and corrected. Strict ethics rules enforced by zealous and independent oversight keep away the stink that almost always goes along with political power. If these things disappear it hardly matters who is in charge; shitty management will follow like water flows downhill. Tax money will disappear down unaccountable holes, important programs will stop working. National security will be less secure. Idiots who can’t do their job will be appointed to important positions. Said idiots, justifiably fearing exposure of their crappy management, inevitably commit increasingly stupid mistakes in an effort to cover up earlier mistakes.

The country works better under Democrats because as a whole they have a better grip on best practices. That’s it. If you think I’m wrong, I encourage you to revisit the unlivable hell that was the Eisenhower administration. Despite their loopy policy agenda Republican leadership doesn’t have to run the country into the ground, it’s just a historical accident that Republican presidents since Eisenhower have had a crappy notion of how to make government work. Bushies just represent the ultimate defeat of competence after a decades-long, losing battle with ideological purity.

FAIL

I wonder whether a shamed and defeated GOP can defy the purity trolls in their the base and give some capable young John Cole types a chance to build a national party again. Sounds tough, after all first they’ll have to stop driving those guys to the Democrats, but it’s either that or try taking power back by some means other than electoral politics.






25 replies
  1. 1
    Punchy says:

    We’re SOOOOOOOOOO going to war.

    And in the process, have the Mother of All Constitutional Crises. I used to think that the thought of suspending elections was all-tinfoil, no substance. Now…..

  2. 2
    Krista says:

    What is it that I’ve heard people say in here? The party that thinks that government doesn’t work tends to make for a piss-poor government? It’s some variation of that, anyway.

  3. 3
    jake says:

    Is the Republican government small enough to drown in a bathtub yet?

    Just checkin’

  4. 4
    Lee says:

    This is a NON snark question (which is rare here in the comments).

    Can someone educate me on this?

    If you think I’m wrong, I encourage you to return to the unlivable hell that was the Eisenhower administration.

    Apparently I’m pitifully lacking on my historical knowledge of the Eisenhower.

    thanks,

  5. 5
    El Cruzado says:

    Sadly, even Nixon did at least try to keep a functional government going. It doesn’t excuse his other faults, but there you have it.

  6. 6
    Egilsson says:

    It is so true that business and government work best with checks and balances – and the application of reasonable regulations for best practices.

    Picture a busy street with no traffic signals or stop signs. People don’t travel as fast as far, it’s very dangerous, and fewer people will start taking that road.

    With traffic signals and stop signs, traffic flows faster and with a much higher level of trust.

    This is applicable to business, which operates best when it does not have to race competitors to the bottom in unethical practices, and it is applicable to government, which should be dedicated to the national good.

    The real (or one of the real) failures of this administration is the simple fact they are incompetent and/or dishonest at all functional levels of government. Zealous 20- 30 year olds making decisions strictly based on loyalty the Dear Leader.

    The next administration needs to sweep all this crap out with a broom, but it’s actually going to be hard and since a bunch of oxes will get gored, there will be embarrassing or bad press leaked against the reformer – if they are a reformer.

  7. 7
    Tim F. says:

    Can someone educate me on this?

    Everything went fine during the Eisenhower administration. That’s the point; Republicans don’t have to be a disaster.

  8. 8
    Lee says:

    Thanks Tim F, my sarcasm meter is out of whack this morning.

  9. 9
    Crusty Dem says:

    I’m not sure the issue is republican incompetence (although that is undeniable), a bigger problem might be that the entire republican mindset is based on “bad government”. I think it all stems from republicans since Reagan claiming that the government is bad or evil and can’t do anything right (remember Reagan’s scariest sentence “I’m from the government and I’m here to help”). They are invested in proving government does not work, and they’re in charge of the government. Sounds like a bad idea, right?

    For comparison, imagine a CEO who has tied up his entire fortune short-selling stock in his own company. In addition, he can use the company he’s running to fund side ventures to help his friends get rich (which may also profit him in the long run). We let him put his own people in charge of accounting and oversight, and we’re supposed to be surprised things aren’t going well?

    I will never consider voting republican until they invest their time and rhetoric into improving government rather than eliminating it.

  10. 10

    I want limited government, not shitty government.

    Do a few things and do them well. But you defeat the entire argument if you do nothing affirmatively to reduce the size of government while detstroying government efficiency through incompetence, ignorance and apathy.

  11. 11
    grandpajohn says:

    The best way to get the wingnuts demanding the return of oversight and accountability to government is to elect a democratic administration whereupon the demand will be immediate and vociferous. And the levels of outrage unparalleled

  12. 12
    Paul L. says:

    paroxysms of righteous outrage again.

    I am waiting for some outrage from Tim’s favorite fake “Gun Rights” group the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA).
    BTW, Gun Rights blogs have noticed the ATF abuses.
    More ATF Woes
    Of course you guys have not noticed or cared about ATF abuses as they only affect “gun nuts”.

  13. 13
    Amit Joshi says:

    Wait a minute, John Cole is young??

  14. 14

    Everything went fine during the Eisenhower administration. That’s the point; Republicans don’t have to be a disaster.

    My father, watching the disaster that is this administration, says, “If Republicans can’t get the economics right, what good are they?”

    I have to point out that, within my political lifetime, which started around 1980, the Republicans have never gotten the economics right, so I do spend a lot of time wondering what good are they.

  15. 15
    TenguPhule says:

    Of course you guys have not noticed or cared about ATF abuses as they only affect “gun nuts”.

    Take a number and get in line, Paul L.

    There so many fucking abuses and fuckups that ATF rates in the queue somewhere between 400 and 700.

  16. 16

    Purity Trolls?

    Are those the corporate CEOs who dress up their lobbyists in ballgowns, place wrist corsages on their arms, and make them promise not to defraud the Nation and keep their money to themselves until that moment when they have marri— er, fully bought and paid for their elected official?

    I like the idea of a “purity troll” mashup. What happens when you join the purity ball concept with people involved in governance best practices (or worst practices).

    The intro text for this site can serve as inspiration:

    We hope you will join us as we encourage young women to commit to moral purity and help them understand the beautiful and righteous life God offers them.

    The Bible lays the responsibility of protecting daughters at the feet of their fathers. We desire to charge men to take up this mantle of responsibility!

    What’s your suggestion for…

    …who’d play the “father”?

    …who’d play the “daughter”?

    …what, exactly is the “mantle of responsibility”?

  17. 17
    Jon H says:

    Probably plagiarized someone else’s whistle-blowing.

  18. 18

    […] Posted in Bush Administration, GOP, Government at 11:34 am by LeisureGuy From Balloon Juice, by Tim F.: I can’t wait for the day when stories like this drive Hugh Hewitt into paroxysms of righteous outrage again. Edgar A. Domenech says he thought Justice Department officials would welcome information about mismanagement at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.Instead, the 23-year ATF veteran says, Justice officials ignored his complaints and later retaliated against him by demoting him, denying him a bonus and attempting to give him a poor job review. […]

  19. 19
    jcricket says:

    What is it that I’ve heard people say in here? The party that thinks that government doesn’t work tends to make for a piss-poor government? It’s some variation of that, anyway.

    PJ O’Rourke. Actual quote:

    The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn.

    The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then get elected and prove it.

  20. 20
    Mark-NC says:

    grandpajohn Says:

    The best way to get the wingnuts demanding the return of oversight and accountability to government is to elect a democratic administration whereupon the demand will be immediate and vociferous. And the levels of outrage unparalleled.

    Or, as I put it – Republicans will suddenly become fiscal conservatives again – about 1 trillionth of a microsecond after a Dem gets elected.

  21. 21
    bud says:

    So, Tim, I assume you’re then going to oppose the appointemnt of “Maximum Mike” Sullivan to the permanent post of ATF director?

    http://www.bostonmagazine.com/.....ashington/

  22. 22
    kmeyer says:

    Tim you are so freaking on the money in this post. Thanks man.

  23. 23

    […] In case anybody still wonders what I meant by that cute little phrase, the answer is Brent Bozell. People like Bozell won’t rest until the Republican party adopts his personal vision of total, unwavering ideological rigidity. People like Bozell don’t understand that the Republican party can’t possibly deliver what they’re demanding, for two reasons. […]

  24. 24

    […] John Cole on the continuing problems with transparency with Bush’s executive agencies. […]

  25. 25
    TGGP says:

    They’re nominating John McCain. I don’t think the Republicans can be accused of ideological purity. As far as I can see they don’t have any principles other than that they should hold on to power, and they’re not even that competent at managing that (the donkle is just extremely competent at losing).

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] John Cole on the continuing problems with transparency with Bush’s executive agencies. […]

  2. […] In case anybody still wonders what I meant by that cute little phrase, the answer is Brent Bozell. People like Bozell won’t rest until the Republican party adopts his personal vision of total, unwavering ideological rigidity. People like Bozell don’t understand that the Republican party can’t possibly deliver what they’re demanding, for two reasons. […]

  3. […] Posted in Bush Administration, GOP, Government at 11:34 am by LeisureGuy From Balloon Juice, by Tim F.: I can’t wait for the day when stories like this drive Hugh Hewitt into paroxysms of righteous outrage again. Edgar A. Domenech says he thought Justice Department officials would welcome information about mismanagement at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.Instead, the 23-year ATF veteran says, Justice officials ignored his complaints and later retaliated against him by demoting him, denying him a bonus and attempting to give him a poor job review. […]

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