So the CPA press office in Baghdad is stacked with Republican campaign operatives. No surprise, I suppose, but pretty depressing nonetheless. And it does suggest treating press releases from the CPA with extreme caution.
Comparing the story itself with Glenn Reynolds’s spin on it is good for a laugh: by converting “21 out of 58 people have demostrable ties to active Republican politics, including the boss, who’s veteran campaign flack” to “21 out of 58 people are Republicans,” Glenn tries to make a serious charge look frivolous. Good lawyering, I suppose — as long as opposing counsel doesn’t catch you at it — but bad journalism.
However, to his credit, Glenn is prepared to pay attention to evidence contradicting his position, and unearths a bombshell:
On the other hand, a reader who for obvious reasons would rather remain nameless, has this rather negative report. He’s a guy I’ve corresponded with more than once, and he looked into taking a job with the CPA. This is what he heard from people he considers knowledgeable, who are not journalists:
They all came back to me with the same story. Go if you want, but know what you are getting into. And what you are getting into is a completely incompetent organization. They had a high opinion of Bremer, but other than that, nothing. In particular they highlighted the presence of political appointees – sons of prominent Bush contributors, quite often – who had absolutely no qualifications whatsoever for their jobs and were doing disastrously poor work there.
They also commented on a really pathological culture where anyone, anyone at all, who in any way dissented from the party line on any issue was harshly suppressed, with their careers ended on more than one occasion. So if a third of the people in the press office are connected to the Administration, then the AP has (in my opinion) started to nose around the edges of a real story.
Remember when the Democrats didn’t want to let Bush and Rove use the Department of Homeland Security as a patronage farm and insisted that normal Civil Service rules apply? Well, now we see why. I wonder if DHS is as full of hacks as CPA? Some journalist might want to find out.
And the claim that lots of children of Bush contributors have jobs at the CPA ought to be easy to check. By comparison with hiring contributors’ idiot children for vital work, inviting the contributors to stay the night in the Lincoln Bedroom seems rather harmless, doesn’t it?