Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The business of government

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The business of government transcends politics. We want a government that we can rely on, regardless of elections, political parties (and disputes), and the like. We want a government that will competently carry out the missions it is given through legislation. Do we have that? From Froomkin again today:

One reader forwarded this fascinating story by Shane Harris in National Journal a few months ago: “On November 2, 2004, top officials from the Homeland Security Department held a small Election Night party at a Washington restaurant to watch the presidential election returns come in on television. Nearly every leader there owed his job to the man then fighting for his own job — George W. Bush.

“The department was almost two years old and run almost entirely by political appointees. Twenty-three months earlier, they had been tapped to lash together 22 disparate, frequently dysfunctional agencies, some of whose failures to safeguard domestic security contributed to the 9/11 attacks.

“As the returns trickled in, there was an hour or so when it appeared that Bush’s Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, might overtake him in the electoral vote count. Rather suddenly, some partygoers recalled, it dawned on them that they might be out of a job.

“As they looked around the room, they realized they hadn’t fully considered who would replace them. Who, they wondered, would keep the department running while President-elect Kerry picked a new leadership team? What career officials, whose posts are designed to outlast any one administration, would step in to ensure that planes flew safely, that borders were patrolled, that the government could respond swiftly to a natural disaster? No one could say for sure, because DHS had no plan.”

Written by Leisureguy

25 September 2007 at 11:22 am

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