Somehow, it seems some loyal Bushies got the idea that they were immortal. Jim O’Beirne, special assistant to the secretary of defense for White House liaisons, is off in a snit because – gasp! shock! – Obama has decided that fuckwitted Bush political hires in the DoD should be shown the exits:
On Tuesday, O’Beirne emailed the Bush loyalists who had learned of their looming dismissals from Scott Gration, a senior official on Obama’s transition team. In his seething missive, O’Beirne, the outgoing special assistant to the secretary of defense for White House liaisons, accused Team Obama of playing politics. As The Hill reported:
In the email, O’Beirne tried to assure the soon-to-be displaced employees that the decisions were based on “policy change in the Obama administration” and not based on performance.
However, he said, if employees “harbor residual doubts” then they can “content yourself with the likelihood that it was your outstanding performance as a Bush appointee that drew the opposition’s attention to you.”
“In that regard, you may take justifiable satisfaction that you were among the first to be chosen,” O’Beirne wrote.
Of course, when it comes to evaluating the qualifications of Bush appointees, Jim O’Beirne knows best.
As Rajiv Chandrasekaran detailed in his shocking 2006 account of the bungled American occupation of Iraq (Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone), O’Beirne was the gatekeeper on personnel assigned to Baghdad. And to be sure, the GOP loyalist and husband of crypto-conservative columnist Kate O’Beirne used the crudest of political litmus tests.
As the Washington Post reported in an excerpt from Chandrasekaran’s book:
To pass muster with O’Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn’t need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.
O’Beirne’s staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade.
Unsurprisingly, the staff of Paul Bremer’s CPA in the Green Zone in Baghdad quickly resembled an after-hours cocktail party at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC):
Many of those chosen by O’Beirne’s office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq’s government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance — but had applied for a White House job — was sent to reopen Baghdad’s stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq’s $13 billion budget, even though they didn’t have a background in accounting.
As more and more of O’Beirne’s hires arrived in the Green Zone, the CPA’s headquarters in Hussein’s marble-walled former Republican Palace felt like a campaign war room. Bumper stickers and mouse pads praising President Bush were standard desk decorations. In addition to military uniforms and “Operation Iraqi Freedom” garb, “Bush-Cheney 2004” T-shirts were among the most common pieces of clothing.
“I’m not here for the Iraqis,” one staffer noted to a reporter over lunch. “I’m here for George Bush.”
And O’Beirne wants the fucking morons he hired to believe that their getting kicked to the curb has nothing to do with performance. Riiiggghhhtt.
I have a suspicion their dismissal had everything to do with performance. As in, shitty, inept, politicized, ridiculous performance. After all, Obama’s only giving the boot to ninety of these people so far. One assumes the 160 other DoD political appointees got no such boot because they’re not stark raving incompetents.
And, as Steve Benen pointed out, “when talking to officials at the Pentagon, it’s best not to refer to Barack Obama and his administration as ‘the opposition.’ He’s the next Commander in Chief.”
I’m sure that’s something O’Beirne and his gang of merry fuckwits will have plenty of opportunity to ponder as they nurse their smarting buttcheeks.