The President today appointed Nicole Nason head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, apparently to reward her for her good work lobbying against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is like appointing Al Capone to run the Women's Christian Temperance Union, or Mike Brown to run, well, anything.
This is another in the President's long history of appointing people totally unsuited for their jobs, but unsuited in a particular, deliberate way. The appointments guarantee incompetence, either by accident through the character of the appointees, or deliberately through the agendas of the appointees. I imagine someone in the West Wing cackling gleefully at yet another appointment that will (a) harm the reputation of the Federal government enough to make people take it less seriously and (b) make us on the left howl in protest. I fear the strategy is working.
If our party could just stop self-immolating, I have no doubt that we could win elections based on this history of whittling away government's effectiveness. We could point out, for just one example, that FEMA under Clinton actually saved lives when major disasters struck.
As Tom Lehrer once said, you begin to feel like a Christian Scientist with appendicitis.
Update, 3pm CST/21:00 UTC: The Washington Post has (a) corrected the article to say that Nason was not, in fact, a lobbyist on transportation issues; and (b) has added a link to this posting.
The corrected article still contains this sentence:
Nason, as assistant secretary of transportation, acted primarily as a lobbyist for the Bush administration in opposing safety proposals that the agency now has the responsibility to enforce, said Joan Claybrook of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen.
If Claybrook is correct, then my earlier conclusion stands: Nason has opposed the NHTSA's mission in the recent past, which makes her unsuitable to run the agency, which in turn makes her a typical Bush nominee.