Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wait, What?

Last Thursday the Washington Post contained this paean to the triumph of the Obamessiah and his Attorney General over the incompetence of the Bush reign of terror. The article is all about how Attorney General Holder is going to "remove the taint of politics" from the office's hiring practices. As one of his first moves towards that goal, he appointed Mary Patrice Brown, a career prosecutor, to head the Office of Professional Responsibility. Given the laudatory tone of the article, the loaded criticisms of the department under President Bush, and the fact that the subtitle is, "Personnel Moves Opt for Experience Over Political Ties", one would think that the previous head was a monkey with a degree from New Delhi Community College and an automatic deposit to the RNC every month. So imagine my surprise at the fact that rather than firing the old office-holder, the AG is keeping him on as head of the executive office of US attorneys. A little more research turned up the fact that the previous officeholder, H. Marshall Jarrett, was a Clinton appointee, and a former assistant US attorney with over 20 years of experience in the department. How did Bush ever get away with appointing such political hacks!

As for the appointment of Jarrett to this new office, it is meant to shake up the US attorneys, indicating that there is a "new sheriff in town", again according to the article. So, who is this new sheriff replacing? Kenneth E Melson, "a career prosecutor in Alexandria for nearly 25 years", who also happens to be a former Chair for the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, a Board Member for the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board, a former President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and a member of its Ethics Committee, who graduated with honors from George Washington Law school, where he currently serves as a professor. Oh, and Holder is making him head of the ATF. Who was he replacing? Michael Sullivan, a Bush appointee who was blocked from confirmation by REPUBLICAN senators and the NRA because they felt he was hostile to small gun dealers.

So, would someone please tell me, where is the big Holder shakeup/change in direction from the Bush years? He seems to be shuffling the career Justice Department employees around, making few serious changes, and yet the article could as easily be a campaign press release. Heck, a press release would probably be less effusive, because no one would take it seriously otherwise.