If we were making a list of the most offensive things the Bush administration has done to the federal government, the politicization of cabinet agenc
March 20, 2008

If we were making a list of the most offensive things the Bush administration has done to the federal government, the politicization of cabinet agencies would have to be in the top 10. Examples like this one just leave me shaking my head.

U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings was in Minnesota on Tuesday to announce a proposed pilot project for the federal No Child Left Behind law that would give 10 states more flexibility in addressing struggling schools’ specific needs. [...]

However, Minnesota doesn’t yet have enough of those schools to participate in the pilot project, prompting some to question why Spellings made the announcement here and whether it was an effort to help Sen. Norm Coleman in his reelection campaign. [...]

"It certainly smells that no Democrats were invited to this event, when we already know that this administration has politicized Cabinet agencies,” said Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “It looks like a stunt to help Norm Coleman’s campaign.”

Ya think? As Paul Kiel noted, “Spellings announced a pilot program in Minnesota that won’t even be taking place in Minnesota.” But it just so happens, Minnesota is home to a very competitive Senate race, where a Republican incumbent wants to look education-friendly, and wouldn’t you know it, there was Sen. Norm Coleman (R) standing alongside the Secretary of Education at a press conference that had no business being held there in the first place.

Lest anyone think I’m being unnecessarily cynical here, consider the administration’s recent history.

In my favorite example, David Kuo, the former second-in-command at the White House Faith-Based Office, publicly acknowledged that the office was used as a tool to help elect Republicans.

Remember, this was happening throughout the Bush administration. Kiel summarized what we learned last summer: “Karl Rove’s machinations in the White House Office of Political Affairs was his use of cabinet members to create free publicity for endangered Republicans. Agency heads or officials who traveled only a handful of times on off years suddenly found themselves whipped into service in an election year. Republicans facing tough challenges could count on a constant stream of photo-ops with administration officials announcing good things for his or her constituents. Rove called the operation his ‘asset deployment’ team.”

But here’s the funny part: after having been caught abusing federal agencies for campaign purposes in 2002, 2004, and 2006, the Bush administration, as the Coleman example highlights, is still pulling the exact same stunts. They’re misusing cabinet agencies and federal resources to help Republican campaigns, and they just don’t care whether it’s obvious or not.

What a shameless bunch of hacks.

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