Cronyism, in the political arena, is the practice of placing friends in political posts with absolute disregard of whether they have little or no experience at all. Although the practice is common throughout the world, and many of the United States Presidents have been suspected of it, few have been more committed to it than President Bush, even when our health and safety are at stake.
Michael D. Brown, the former head of FEMA, resigned on Sept. 12 after his miserable handling of the consequences of Hurricane Katrina and also after accusations of being deceitful in some sections of his resume.
During Brown’s mess up, it was found out that he was a former Judge and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association for little over a decade.
It does not take a nuclear physicist to realize that Brown has next to no concrete experience in dealing with disasters.
There was a call for Brown’s resignation by Representative Robert Wexler (D-Florida) earlier this year after Hurricane Frances affected the state of Florida. In an eye opening Time Magazine article entitled appropriately, “How Many More Mike Browns Are Out There?” some of Bush’s “appointments are raising serious concerns in the agencies themselves and on Capitol Hill about the competence and independence of agencies that the country relies on to keep us safe, healthy and secure.”
Such an appointment is that of Scott Gottlieb, a young doctor, who became the deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Before getting the job, Gottlieb criticized the FDA and had strong ties with the drug industry. For these and many other reasons, former FDA Commissioner Donald Kennedy criticized the appointment of Gottlieb. When interviewed by Time, Kennedy stated that Gottlieb “really confirmed people’s worst fears that he was only going to be happy if we were acting in a way that would make the pharmaceutical industry happy.”
There is no doubt that the FDA is an extremely important government agency that should be neutral and of course should not at all flirt with the drug industry.
That goes to say that there is no need for Gottlieb and others like him who do not mind sitting on the drug industry’s lap.
The newest Bush nominee has even more people concerned. The nominee is Harriet E. Miers, a vital Bush assistant who is notable for few things besides her similarities to former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Like O’Connor, neither were federal judges prior to their nominations, both are from Texas, and ironically, Miers is now filling O’Connor’s empty seat.
It is not hard to see the Bush administration’s dedication to cronyism.
By placing friends who have little or no experience in important positions, Bush has indeed compromised our health and safetyour health and safety extremely vulnerable.