October 4, 2005 — Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for Time magazine, visited the Shorenstein Center to share her views in a talk she called “The New Cronyism: How Many More Mike Browns are Out There?”
As New Orleans continues to roil from the shock of Hurricane Katrina, many have begun to question the credentials of those leading our federal agencies. Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court — a personal legal advisor with no formal judicial experience — has stimulated more discussion on the president’s appointments.
According to Tumulty, the Bush administration has employed a systematic, centralized, and coordinated restructuring of the bureaucracy. While many were busy counting ballots on December 3, 2000, during the Florida recount, Tumulty claims, now Vice President Dick Cheney spent the day poring over organizational charts of the federal government.
In the midst of this climate of cronyism, Tumulty asserted, the press must cover appointments to the best of its ability within its time constraints. Likewise, Congress should be wary of those they appoint, cognizant of the qualifications they bring to the table.