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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Friday, March 13, 2009


It's so hard to find good help these days

posted by Aziz P. at Friday, March 13, 2009 permalink View blog reactions
The Obama Administration's woes in filling political appointees are getting a lot of attention in the media. However, it should be noted that Obama is doing better than average when compared to previous presidents.

Much of the problem is that Obama's ethical standards are so stringent that qualified candidates with relevant experience are forced to screen themselves out of consideration. For example, Obama's ban on lobbyists sounded great in theory, but often people with the right skills do have lobbyist gigs on the side. There's a good story at NPR on this, too.

Plus, there's a decent amount of scalp-hunting at work here that ultimately goes against our national interest - as Megan McArdle puts it,

This new tradition of bulldogging every appointee in the hope of embarrassing the president has to stop. We should be focusing on whether or not the nominee can do the job, not whether there is some small breach of an onerous regulation in his history that can possibly be dug up. It feels good in the short term, but when ability to find a native-born nanny becomes a more important qualification for the presidential candidate than experience relevant to the job to be done, it's time for a national rethink.



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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.