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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Vexatious vetting

Why is it so hard to hire people for public jobs?

Deval Patrick and Barack Obama must be asking themselves that after two high profile problems: Patrick missing out on the fact his new stimulus czar had been fired from a previous job and Obama losing his second Commerce Secretary nominee in as many months.

Let's start with Jeffrey Simon, the $150,000 a year hire who was supposed to manage how we spend the stimulus infrastructure cash. I had a bad feeling about the position in the first place, based on symbolism alone.

But it got worse.
The real estate developer chosen by Governor Deval Patrick to distribute billions of dollars in federal stimulus money has been receiving a state pension ever since he was fired from his job at a state development agency in 1995, according to state records.
Just how extensively did Patrick's team check out this guy's background? Just how long did it take for the Globe to find this out?

A state pension patriot is just the worst possible symbol. Let's hope and assume the new search begins today. I hear there's a former House Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee Chairman who might be available. Good job at good wages.

The Judd Gregg flameout is harder to comprehend. Did this guy really not think through the implications of his decision to abandon his New Hampshire Senate seat and join forces with the Obama administration?
"...On issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me. Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns."
What do you mean "we."? Senator, you had all the information possible -- based on a lifetime of public service -- that you and Obama had different views.

The Hamlet-like decision leaves almost as much egg on the president's face, adding Gregg to the list of Bill Richardson, Tom Daschle and other fouled up nominations damaged or ended by a variety of reasons.

You can almost understand if conspiracy theorists who suggest it's part of a concerted GOP effort to attack Obama's claims of bipartisanship.
"Despite our repeated attempts to work with President Obama and the Democrat Majority, Speaker Pelosi has refused to meet with us, or even include us in key negotiations, choosing instead to stick with a pork-filled bill that even members of her own party do not support," said a statement from Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the minority whip.
After all, playing politics is about the only thing the GOP congressional types seem to be skilled at.

There are millions of people out there we really need a job. Why can't these guys find qualified, committed candidates?

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Anonymous Rogerstein said...

It's funny because Deval knew about his background and Ok'd it. It's a shame that a qualified person for the job is coming under fire because the Gov. doesn't know how to handle his vetting process or PR.

February 13, 2009 11:57 AM  
Blogger Fever said...

Patrick couldn’t have picked a better candidate. The Big Dig should provide all the insight one needs to understand how politicians spend our money. Basically they need a dishonorable guy like Simon in charge to make sure our elected officials get their piece of the pie. Then, after billions are wasted on projects that should have cost millions, we can all point our fingers at Simon. That is how politicians make their money; nobody would do their job for the salary alone.

February 13, 2009 12:47 PM  
Blogger cody said...

Unless Obama's poll numbers drop in the next few weeks the public seems to be crediting him with at least attempting bipartisanship while they're also dinging the republicans for being obstructionists. so the GOP plan isn't quite working yet.

February 13, 2009 2:25 PM  
Blogger Chris Rich said...

At the Commonwealth level, it's the usual practice of parking connected hacks to be the front suit for whatever mess de jour. Mass exists in a strange world all its own..its the cultcha.

But the Fed issue is intriguing, may be Obama zen. Let's suppose we need to finish these goons off by goading them into loudly proving their obsolescence.

Obama reached out but it was a veiled challenge to get beyond their windy useless ideology and actually have ideas instead of ideo-prop yapping points.

It's pretty cool actually, spend a few early weeks giving these waterheads a chance to come up with some substantive thing and then, when they predictably utterly blow it, you get to say, okay, I tried.

Make them toss out their bankrupt bromides and embarrass themselves. It makes it much easier to steamroller them down the road and complete the task of sending the GOP into the same crypt that now contains the Whigs and 'Know Nothings'.

February 13, 2009 4:08 PM  

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