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Oh My God! Bush Appoints Religious Zealot To Key USAID Post

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The mainstream media has filled many columns over the past few weeks regarding Bush cronies, and the embarrassment they have brought the administration.

Yes, Harriet Miers was a poor choice for the Supreme Court. Anyone in Washington — Democrat or Republican — was more than happy to share that with the press. And how about FEMA Director Michael Brown? After Hurricane Katrina, the media learned that “Brownie” and his top two assistants had no experience in disaster management. Yikes.

But the media hasn’t written as extensively about other Bush cronies. It’s not that the information is unavailable — the Washington Post, for one, has been on top of things — but stories are few and far between.

And yet, with the U.S. fighting a “war on terror,” these appointments may be as damaging as Brown’s decision to take a lengthy dinner break in Baton Rouge rather than deal with the dead and dying of New Orleans.

But unless the media takes on the appointments of cronies like Paul Bonicelli with the same vigor as Miers and Brown, the average American won’t ever know their names, let alone how poorly qualified they are for their jobs.

***

Bonicelli was appointed by Bush in October as a deputy in the USAID Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. It was a nomination that played well with Bush’s conservative Christian base, but made no sense otherwise.

And sadly, other than The New Republic and a smattering of foreign press, the appointment was ignored by the media.

Among the charges for Bonicelli is strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights” in the developing world, a key role as the Bush Administration tries to foster democracy in Iraq and the broader Middle East.

But Bonicelli isn’t close to being qualified for the position.

According to USAID, Bonicelli most recently served as Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College, in Virginia.

The fundamentalist institution’s motto is “For Christ and Liberty.” Students and faculty members are required to sign a 10-part “statement of faith” declaring, among other things, that hell is a place where “all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity.”

Given his “statement of faith,” how can Bonicelli possibly strengthen “respect for human rights” to primarily non-Christians? What objectivity can he bring to decisions involving Muslims, who by his “statement of faith” Bonicelli believes will be confined to an eternity in hell?

Bonicelli’s appointment might be excused if he had extensive background in international relations. He doesn’t. According to USAID, his resume includes a stint as a staff member on the International Relations Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, and he once was an assistant professor of political science at the world-renowned Grove City College, in Pennsylvania.

Will Bonicelli’s appointment cost lives, like a Michael Brown? Probably not. Will he cause the Bush Administration as much embarrassment as Harriet Miers? Doubtful.

But that doesn’t make his appointment right, either. Americans should know about Bonicelli, because during our “war on terror,” there’s no room for cronies anywhere in government.

***

This item first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.

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About David R. Mark

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    I’m waiting for the usual suspects to come on over and tell us again that Bush is really a moderate and that he’s just courting the religious right.

    Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap-tap….

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Even without being a ‘person of faith’ myself I would think that the values of Christianity would be uniquely compatible with a position as head of USAID. I can’t even begin to imagine why this appointment would be controversial to anyone but a hatefilled spinmonger.

    Dave

  • http://www.bhwblog.com bhw

    Did you read the part where the writer said that the guy isn’t qualified? It’s not hateful to say that you don’t think someone is qualified for the job. And belief in Jesus isn’t a job qualification.

  • Michael

    Dave,

    When someone has a world view based on fantasy, “hell is a place where “all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity”, it is something that should be held private.

    Unfortunately, this administration uses religion as the filter which would be great if we were a theocracy. It is too bad we are bey all the people, for all the people. Normally, it is no one’s business what faith you practice, but this administration has made the conservative christian right there fundraising and policy buddies. And most make decisions based on christ’ secong coming and the evil of secular, rational thought. Intelligent design, gay marriage, and a war against islam are a good start.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    BHW, what evidence did David Mark provide for the guy being unqualified? Nothing but a couple of snide remarks that the universities he’s worked for are relatively obscure and of course the automatically implied condemnation that because he’s religious he must be some sort of idiot or incompetent. Would he be more qualified if he was a professor at Yale or Harvard?

    Mark doesn’t even prove that he’s a bush crony, he just throws it out there with no evidence whatsoever. I see no indication of any special prior relationship between Bonicelli and Bush – he’s just tagged as a ‘crony’ because that’s the latest way the left smears Bush appointees.

    As for belief in Jesus not being a job qualification, it’s also not a disqualification – except in the eyes of David Mark, of course – because basically that’s all he points out as a negative on Bonicelli.

    Dave

  • david r. mark

    I linked to the press release from USAID describing Bonicelli’s resume. His main job has been at Patrick Henry job. He has no significant background in international relations, and what background he does have is in Latin American politics — not Middle Eastern.

    Bonicelli was appointed by Bush in 2002 to a delegation attending a United Nations children’s conference, where they sought to promote biblical values in U.S. foreign policy. This sparked angry protests from groups advocating women’s rights and the separation of church and state.

    How did Bonicelli get even noticed by the administation? William Fisher, a 30-year veteran of USAID and the State Department (and a Bush critic) cites a relationship between Patrick Henry College and the office of Karl Rove. Mostly students placed as interns in various departments.

    I think it’s fair to suggest that Bonicelli is a Bush crony. The opinion posted is that Bonicelli is unqualified for his position, but was placed because of what he stands for — namely, his faith — and the need for Bush to cowtow to his conservative Christian base.

  • david r. mark

    As for belief in Jesus not being a job qualification, it’s also not a disqualification – except in the eyes of David Mark, of course –

    You are misinterpreting my point, Dave.

    I don’t care that the guy is a conservative Christian. I don’t care that he’s a creationist.

    But I do think it’s a problem that this guy think all non-Christians are doomed to eternity in hell, when he’s going to be working primarily with Muslims. Seems that’s a conflict of interest.

    It’d be like appointing someone to head the Corporation for Public Broadcasting who doesn’t believe there should be a Corporation for Public Broadcasting. … Whoops, Bush did that, too.

    You would think, Dave, that Bush would want to put the strongest, most qualified people into these key democracy-spreading positions. This is the face of the United States for people who, polls show, don’t like the United States. If you follow the Bush logic, then spreading democracy will help quell terrorism. Shouldn’t it be a top priority to have extremely qualified people in these positions?

    There is no way, given Bonicelli’s resume, that you can argue he is more than minimally qualified for this position. And I believe that even that’s a tough position to defend.

  • david r. mark

    “I can’t even begin to imagine why this appointment would be controversial to anyone but a hatefilled spinmonger.” Dave Nalle.

    When all you have is venom, Dave, you aren’t taken seriously. When will you figure that out?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    ‘kowtow’ is spelled with a ‘k’, btw. It has nothing to do with towing bovines.

    USAID does enormously more work in Africa and South America than in the middle east, and from what I understand Bonicelli does have a background in foreign policy and foreign policy studies. He also has plenty of administrative experience.

    Yes, he worked for a religiously whacked out college in a lovely town in Virginia where my gay Latin teacher in high school grew up.

    The fact is that being associated with a college where Karl Rove picks up interns for the white house doesn’t exactly make you a Bush crony.

    You’re also way off base to suggest that he’s as unqualified as Brownie was. Bonicelli is clearly more than minimally qualified to head USAID.

    I’m an atheist and I’m pro-choice, and that’s where he’s going to be a problem in international policy because he’s going to perpetuate the policy of not giving foreign aid for abortions. But even with that caveat, he’s still qualified for the job, because that’s not what USAID’s work ought to be all about. It’s just a tiny aspect of what their work touches on.

    Merely being a Christian and merely being pro-life does NOT make you unqualified for government appointment, and when you get right down to it, that’s all you have against him.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    When all you have is venom, Dave, you aren’t taken seriously. When will you figure that out?

    Every time I read your postings here I get a reminder of the truth of this statement. Pity you can’t hold the mirror up and see how much it applies to your endless, venomous rants.

    Dave

  • david r. mark

    I have against him the fact that his “experience” is limited to a brief stint as a staffer for the House Internatlonal Relations Committee. And in that stint, his area was Latin America, not the Middle East.

    I laid out his resume in the original post, Dave. Patrick Henry College (unrelated to current job), stint on the House committee (marginally related), assistant political science prof at unheralded college (unrelated to current job).

    And from all accounts I’ve read, he’s going to be working with Karen Hughes, primarily helping to spread democracy in the Middle East. Will he also work in Africa? Perhaps. I haven’t seen anything supporting that. Do you have a source?

    You want to make this into an anti-Christian thing, and that’s not what this is. Like Harriet Miers — of whom Bush asked for support based in large part on her faith — Bonicelli’s main qualification is that he’s someone whose appointment will make Bush’s conservative Christian base happy. And I do think that the ties between his university and Karl Rove put him on the map for two appointments — vs. the hundreds, if not thousands of people with similar qualifications around the country.

    You have not provided an alternative reason for Bonicelli receiving this post, Dave. I’d welcome one.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    It wouldn’t be Monday without the Daves fighting about something nobody cares about.

    D-Mark, do you know who should be appointed to this position?

  • david r. mark

    Dave — the key difference between us is that I offer facts. I attribute my information.

    You just smear. You name-call. You don’t back up your opinions with facts. And then when you are offered facts that contradict one of your opinions — like suggesting something is an urban legend — you don’t admit you’re wrong.

    I’ll keep defending myself with facts. You keep spreading your empty spin. Hopefully BC readers will recognize the difference.

  • Dave Nalle

    Dave — the key difference between us is that I offer facts. I attribute my information.

    No, the key difference between us is that when the administration does something you look for a way that you can spin it negative. When I look at something they do I merely assess it on its actual merits.

    You just smear. You name-call. You don’t back up your opinions with facts.

    David, I’ve repeatedly countered your arguments with facts. Not only that, but as with this article, your own facts contradict your arguments. The facts aren’t at issue here. We both agree on them. As always, what’s at issue is your biased interpretation and redefinition of what the facts mean.

    When you say that someone is unqualified for a job in foreign policy because he taught at a relgious college, that’s not flawed because of the facts, it’s flawed because you assume that being religious makes you incapable of doing a foreign policy job. That just makes no sense.

    I have against him the fact that his “experience” is limited to a brief stint as a staffer for the House Internatlonal Relations Committee. And in that stint, his area was Latin America, not the Middle East.

    And as I said, USAID does far more with the Latin America than with the Middle East, plus if you follow your own USAID link you’ll see that he also has academic experience relevant to foreign policy.

    I laid out his resume in the original post, Dave. Patrick Henry College (unrelated to current job), stint on the House committee (marginally related), assistant political science prof at unheralded college (unrelated to current job).

    None of which works against him in the job he’s been appointed to.

    And from all accounts I’ve read, he’s going to be working with Karen Hughes, primarily helping to spread democracy in the Middle East. Will he also work in Africa? Perhaps. I haven’t seen anything supporting that. Do you have a source?

    Are you not familiar with USAID and what it does? Follow your own link and read their website. Prior to the Iraq war USAID’s role in the Middle East was minimal. Their role in Iraq is substantial, but their focus has always been on less developed areas of the world. Most of the Middle East countries don’t need the kind of help USAID provides.

    You want to make this into an anti-Christian thing, and that’s not what this is. Like Harriet Miers — of whom Bush asked for support based in large part on her faith — Bonicelli’s main qualification is that he’s someone whose appointment will make Bush’s conservative Christian base happy. And I do think that the ties between his university and Karl Rove put him on the map for two appointments — vs. the hundreds, if not thousands of people with similar qualifications around the country.

    I’m not arguing that this isn’t true. But your assumption that these qualities are negatives is just another example of bias. Administrations pick appointees for just this kind of reason – to make supporters happy, to reward loyalty, to appoint someone with a particular perspective. This is not something that is new to the Bush administration, and trying to make out that it is some sort of unusual circumstance or an example of something that Bush is doing wrong is entirely disingenuous.

    You have not provided an alternative reason for Bonicelli receiving this post, Dave. I’d welcome one.

    The reasons for his appointment may very well be what you have said they are. I suspect the main reason is that he’ll strongly oppose aid for contraception in the third world. But that is NOT a disqualification for the job, nor is being a person of faith.

    And again I go back to the article. Do you really think that Bonicellis is unqualified for this job in the same way that Brown was unqualified for his job at FEMA? Bonicelli has basic foreign policy background, he has administrative experience, and he’s clearly not an idiot. You can’t call him unqualified just because of his religious beliefs or just because you assume that everyone Bush appoints is unqualified.

    Dave

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I’m waiting for the usual suspects to come on over and tell us again that Bush is really a moderate and that he’s just courting the religious right.

    Well, I guess I can’t use that line. I still feel that way, bhw. There is a caveat. As much of a moderate as I believe Bush is, he has painted himself into a corner and needs the far right to keep his Administration from drowning. That is a major problem for me.

    Insofar as his appoointments go, Bush has a fantastic record for maintaining the most diverse Administration in American History. The problem is that in the racial diversity there is no religious diversity. I have no problem with using cronies to fill positions; however, these cronies must have some qualification for doing so. Bonicalli isn’t qualified – not because of his religious beliefs – but his lack of on the job experience, period.

    There’s hypocrisy running rampant in America with regard to faith. This government abhors the concept of an Islamic Republic yet our policies reflect and espouse conservative Christian values. We can’t have it both ways. Keep Christ in Christmas and take Him out of governance.

  • david r. mark

    Matthew, I don’t. It’s not my area of expertise.

    But, if I were making the given appointment, I would want to interview as many top-notch people as possible. If indeed this person is going to spend a significant amount of time in the Middle East, I might try to find someone who was fluent in the appropriate languages. I might try to find someone who has spent time/worked in the region, who maybe has grass-roots and other contacts who could open doors in the effort.

    I would put political favors very low on my list. If it so happens that my appointment pleases a key base, great. But I’d sooner put my cronies in “safe” jobs, like ambassador to lichtenstein or bermuda, than in a position that is even remotely part of the cornerstone of the administration.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You keep calling Bonicelli a ‘crony’, David. But you have yet to make any personal or even direct connection between him and the president. Your connection between his former employer and the white house is ludicrously tenuous and is a working relationship, not a personal one to boot.

    Dave

  • david r. mark

    “When you say that someone is unqualified for a job in foreign policy because he taught at a relgious college, that’s not flawed because of the facts, it’s flawed because you assume that being religious makes you incapable of doing a foreign policy job. That just makes no sense.” Dave Nalle

    I said that he was unqualified because his resume is thin. And I think his religious zealotry could pose a problem, if he is to work primarily with Muslims. I don’t think his background makes him well qualified for the position for these two reasons.

    “Are you not familiar with USAID and what it does? Follow your own link and read their website. Prior to the Iraq war USAID’s role in the Middle East was minimal. Their role in Iraq is substantial, but their focus has always been on less developed areas of the world. Most of the Middle East countries don’t need the kind of help USAID provides.” Dave Nalle

    The key is “prior to the Iraq War.” Bonicelli’s role is not the traditional USAID role. His role, by the accounts I’ve read, is to work with Karen Hughes, primarily in the Middle East. So again, his brief stint on the House committee really doesn’t qualify him for this position.

    I’m not arguing that this isn’t true. … Administrations pick appointees for just this kind of reason – to make supporters happy, to reward loyalty … >> Dave Nalle

    You just proved my point, Dave. This guy was a political appointee — to make the base happy, and plucked from a sweet spot for the conservative Christian base. So you agree Bonicelli is a crony, and picked for political purposes, rather than his resume.

    Thanks for agreeing with me, Dave.

    [DRM: Please use ” in place of 2more than”. Comments Editor.]

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I said that he was unqualified because his resume is thin. And I think his religious zealotry could pose a problem, if he is to work primarily with Muslims. I don’t think his background makes him well qualified for the position for these two reasons.

    This makes no sense at all. USAID doesn’t provide religious counseling, it provides foriegn aid. Nothing he’ll be doing will engage his religious views in any way except for on the abortion issue and on that he and the Muslims will be on the same page.

    As for his ‘thin’ resume, it’s certainly good enough to qualify him for the job. Does it make him the best qualified person in America? Probably not. But it certainly makes him qualified enough.

    The key is “prior to the Iraq War.” Bonicelli’s role is not the traditional USAID role. His role, by the accounts I’ve read, is to work with Karen Hughes, primarily in the Middle East. So again, his brief stint on the House committee really doesn’t qualify him for this position.

    I thought he’d been appointed to head USAID, not to head some special mideast project. The job is still going to involve a lot more than just the Middle East. And of course, the real work will be done by the permanent employees of the agency, not by Bonicelli. As with all these appointees his main role will be oversight and liaison.

    You just proved my point, Dave. This guy was a political appointee — to make the base happy, and plucked from a sweet spot for the conservative Christian base. So you agree Bonicelli is a crony, and picked for political purposes, rather than his resume.

    I don’t agree that he’s a crony. You seem not to understand the definition of the term. But he is certainly a political appointee. Are you really so naive that you expected some other sort of appointee? These are political jobs handed out by politicians. Welcome to the real world.

    When my father worked for the USIA during the Reagan administration they got an appointee whose main qualification was that he had produced “The Three Stooges on Mars” – which made him a cultural expert in Reagan’s eyes, plus he was an old hollywood buddy. The agency didn’t fall apart because of this ludicrous appointment – the actual work was still being done by qualified professionals like my father.

    Thanks for agreeing with me, Dave.

    Keep on spinning…

    Dave

  • david r. mark

    “I thought he’d been appointed to head USAID, not to head some special mideast project.” Dave Nalle

    Perhaps that’s why you’re so off-base, Dave.

    The article (and the USAID link) say he’s been appointed a deputy. I have said several times that based on the thin press coverage Bonicelli’s appointment has received, it appears he will be working with Karen Hughes, primarily in the Middle East.

    Yes, facts. They are a good thing.

  • david r. mark

    “Are you really so naive that you expected some other sort of appointee? These are political jobs handed out by politicians. Welcome to the real world.” Dave Nalle

    Again, you prove my point. Take away the smearing and the name-calling, and when it comes down to it, you agree that this guy is a political appointee, and not much more.

    His resume is thin. His personal beliefs could pose a problem. Are you so naive as to think that his religous zealotry couldn’t get in the way when dealing with fragile relationships involving Muslims? Why tempt fate for what should be a key role in our efforts to spread democracy in the Middle East.

    Bonicelli already has been criticized for his role on the 2002 commission for overstepping bounds. Is a political appointment worth the risk of potentially embarrassing the U.S.?

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    “No, the key difference between us is that when the administration does something you look for a way that you can spin it negative. When I look at something they do I merely assess it on its actual merits”

    Excuse me while I laugh my ass off at this.

    Nalle assesses Bush admin on actual merits? Bullshit. It’s no secret that you’re Bush’s butt boy. You’re on hyperbole alert again. That’s strike two.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Wow, this is getting pretty funny now.

    Perhaps that’s why you’re so off-base, Dave.

    Why yes, it is where I’m off-base, David. I missed that fact because it’s not in your article, and when I went to USAID I just read up on his qualifications and overlooked the details of the position, having trusted you on your statement that Bonicelli was ‘appointed’ to USAID. Since that statement is incorrect – read the USAID piece and find me where the word ‘appointed’ is used – the entire premise of your rant is incorrect.

    Here’s the rub. The position of Deputy Assistant Administrator is NOT an appointed job. It’s a regular hired job. It does not require approval by the Senate and it is not considered an appointment or a ‘nomination’ as you say in the article. Only the director of USAID is an appointee. So yes, I was wrong. My mistake was believing you. But then on the other hand this means that your entire article is also wrong.

    The article (and the USAID link) say he’s been appointed a deputy.

    Bonicelli wasn’t appointed, he ‘joined’ the agency. In fact that means that he was HIRED. You’re raising all this fuss over the hiring of a middle manager who is probably overqualified for his job. And in fact he’s not even a deputy, he’s a deputy assistant. That’s one level lower than an assistant director, plus he’s not at USAID itself, but at a sub-agency, so that puts him about FIVE levels away from a decision making or policy setting position.

    I have said several times that based on the thin press coverage Bonicelli’s appointment has received, it appears he will be working with Karen Hughes, primarily in the Middle East.

    There’s not much coverage because this is a case of the hiring of a minor figure to an entirely appropriate position. And BTW, the USAID press release emphasizes that his role is to oversee the ‘democracy and governance programs’. It doesn’t say one word about him working with Karen Hughes or on the Middle East. His background in political science is exactly the proper kind of qualification for the area he’ll be working in.

    Yes, facts. They are a good thing.

    They sure are. At this point if I were you I’d delete this article before you embarass yourself any further.

    Again, you prove my point. Take away the smearing and the name-calling, and when it comes down to it, you agree that this guy is a political appointee, and not much more.

    Except that now that I have read the USAID statement in detail I realize that he’s not a political appointee and that you’re either mistaken or lying. My error here was in believing you in the first place. It does look like you picked up the error from TNR, but they don’t allow access to their full articles, so I’m not sure if the article as a whole is more accurate than the summary.

    His resume is thin.

    No, given that he’s being hired for a minor administrative position in the agency – one of many at that level – his resume is more than adequate. I believe that if you check the job listings for the position you’ll find that the job doesn’t even require a Ph.D.

    His personal beliefs could pose a problem. Are you so naive as to think that his religous zealotry couldn’t get in the way when dealing with fragile relationships involving Muslims? Why tempt fate for what should be a key role in our efforts to spread democracy in the Middle East.

    So you’re saying that the government should violate the law and not hire him based on his religion? That’s discrimination, plain and simple. This isn’t a job where he is going to be doing any independent negotiating and he certainly won’t be setting policy.

    Bonicelli already has been criticized for his role on the 2002 commission for overstepping bounds. Is a political appointment worth the risk of potentially embarrassing the U.S.?

    No, but since he isn’t a political appointee the issue is entirely different. He’ll be advising the director, not implementing policy on his own, so his religious beliefs will play a very minor role.

    Though I suspect you ought to just delete the whole article at this point since your basic premise is so flawed, you ought to at least change ththe term ‘nominated’, since it’s what most suggests that he’s a political appointee.

    Now he may be a political hire – the bureaucrats as USAID may be trying to suck up to someone by hiring him – but his qualifications do fall well within the parameters for this minor job.

    Dave

  • david r. mark

    Dave, you’re wrong. But facts aren’t your strong point.

    The press release announced his hiring. But he was appointed by Bush, according to numerous stories.

    As I’ve mentioned before, William Fisher, a 30-year veteran of USAID and the State Department, wrote that Bonicelli was appointed to work with Karen Hughes, specifically spreading democracy in the Middle East. It’s not some “minor administrative position.”

    And I’m not arguing that the government should practice religious discrimination (although some conservative pundits, like Laura Ingraham, have suggested that the U.S. should practice religious discrimination in screening for terrorists.) But at the same time, I don’t think that Bonicelli’s faith — the likely reason for, as you called it correctly, a “political appointment” — should make up for an otherwise thin resume.

    But keep twisting my points out of context. Keep twisting the facts to make everything happy. I’ll keep fighting the good fight, and let the facts do the talking.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    He may have been appointed to work with Hughes – not something actually cited in your article – but that’s not what the USAID press release says, and that would be an additional responsibility not part of job at USAID, which is not a job for which people are nominated or appointed.

    And you’re still flogging the ‘thin resume’ bit. It just doesn’t fly. This is a mid-level appointment. It ought to be going to someone with fewer qualifications than Bonicelli has. In fact, based on the evidence I would suggest that his religious background may have counted against him and might explain why he got appointed to a job below his level of qualification.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    The problem here is that by appointing a guy just because he is Ideologically Correct means that the job is not filled by a guy with real competence. That means the job won’t be done right and a disaster will ensue. Witness Katrina.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Except that the guy is clearly competent and more than qualified in addition to being ideologically desirable from the administration’s perspective. He’s better qualified than many appointees and he’s not even being given a high level job.

    Dave

  • http://jabbs.blogspot.com david r. mark

    Dave, you can keep defending his resume. It just doesn’t fly. You admitted this was a political appointment, and agreed it was likely to make the conservative Christian base happy.

    How you find his resume appropriate is beyond me. His only related experience is a stint as a House staffer. Suddenly, he’s put on a commission, and now he’s being given a chance to work in the most important region of the world, alongside Bush’s good buddy, Karen Hughes?

    Next thing, you’ll tell me that Julie Myers is well qualified (she’s apparently going to receive a recess appointment). Or why not defend Michael Brown?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Come on David, he’s a college professor of political science put in a job where he’s going to be making recomendations on how foreign governments can be improved and made more democratic. What on earth could be more appropriate than that? Oh wait, a college political science prof who also has a bit of government and foreign policy experience.

    There’s nothing to defend here. He’s entirely appropriate for the job, especially considering its relative low level of importance. Trying to compare him to Brown or Myers is laughable.

    Dve

  • Bliffle

    Until, of course, a disaster draws attention to the fellow, ala Katrina, and then people wonder how he got the job in the first place. It is then that the sins of Political Patronage become obvious. I think that the rationale for patronage was the idea that it just diluted competence slightly; that one could appoint ones incompetent brother-in-law to an agency that was otherwise filled with people who knew their jobs. Unfortunately, now it seems that everyone in the agency is a patronage appointment. Or that the competents were discouraged and left, ala Katrina, again.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    I’m not sure you can actually have an economic aid ‘disaster’.

    Dave

  • david r. mark

    I’m not sure you can actually have an economic aid ‘disaster’

    I think that’s too literal a comparison to Michael Brown. Bush made a political decision to hire someone who, in theory, will have a pretty important job. That’s what makes Bonicelli’s hiring potentially similar to the Brown disaster.

    Rather than hire someone not because of their faith — to placate a chunk of Bush’s base — it would have been better to hire someone because of their resume. Bonicelli’s resume makes him a marginal candidate at best for a job working alongside Undersecretary of State Hughes in the effort to bring democracy to the Middle East.

  • http://xenoreturns.blogspot.com Xeno

    “Nalle assesses Bush admin on actual merits? Bullshit. It’s no secret that you’re Bush’s butt boy.”

    Didn’t you know that THIS man is really Bush’s butt boy.

    Oh dear. Hope that doesn’t constitute a personal attack. More like an exaggerated statement of fact.

  • Driveby

    Was looking for Bush’s Baked Beans Recipe. Am I on the wrong page? What is this butt boy thing. Maybe you ment bat boy or the bat guy. So what is the recipe or should I look elsware? Sure do like them Bush’s baked beans. Thanks for your help.

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