another one bites the dust…

Posted on Tuesday 20 November 2007

"The McCarthyite hysteria that permits the anonymous smearing of any public servant who is now, or ever may have been, a member of the Federalist Society; a person of faith; and/or a conservative (especially a young, conservative woman of color) is truly a disservice to our country."
Rachel Paulose, U.S. Attorney for Minnesota

Remember her? She was the young lawyer appointed as interim U.S. Attorney when Tom Heffelfinger resigned. He was one of the U.S. Attornies who was helped to leave rather than being fired. At the time he left, he was investigating a big Republican contributor for irregularities in stock options [back dating to the tune of millions] as he left as the CEO for a major insurance conglomerate. Paulose had worked for the firm defending him, then went to the DOJ [where she was Monica Goodking’s best pal]. She rapidly moved to interim U.S. Attorney in Minnesota, then was appointed and confirmed by the Senate. Other important things – Federalist Society, Fundamentalist Christian. Her swearing in was called "the Coronation" because it was such a lavish [and expensive] to-do [with a choir]. Not long after arriving, her main managers all demoted themselves saying that she was impossible to work with. And then there’s the matter of mishandling classified material and alienating her entire staff. Quite a lot, for such a brief career! So, now she’s being bumped back to the DOJ and crying victim [see above]. emptywheel speculates on why she’s being given a central office job rather than being fired, "I can only imagine that her claims that she’s being targeted because she’s a Federalist Society member would make her hard for someone to fire."

The DOJ scandal around the firing of the U.S. Attorneys has decimated the ranks of everyone who touched it. I won’t list them again – it’s getting too long. But of all the scandals in Bush’s White House, this one has had the most devastating consequences for the Administration. It hasn’t gotten the Press time devoted to Nigergate, or Plamegate, or the NSA Domestic Surveillance, the War, or even the cadre of Unitary Executive misadventures. It has, however, sent people scattering like roaches from an exterminator – and there are dead bugs everwhere. Congratulations go to Josh Marshall and his cadre of Talking Point Memo bird dogs for bringing it into our attention and keeping it there.

Paulose is one of the few that’s even mounted the persecution defense. Most got out with some kind of excuse and kept running. But I think it’s worth mentioning her claims of prejudice. I have nothing to say about her "person of color" comment. She has an Indian background. I doubt that has much to do with anything. But she is a fundamentalist Christian of the Republican kind, and she is a member of the Federalist Society. She’s saying that those things were held against her, that they had something to do with her losing her job. Frankly, she’s got it backwards. They are the reason she had that job in the first place!

What’s not acknowledged is that this kind of credentialling [AEI, PNAC, Religious Right, Federalist Society, National Republican Lawyers, Republican, etc.] has replaced merit, talent, experience, accomplishments, even credentials that fit the job, "heck-of-a-job" Brownie being the loudest example of an epidemic practice. Rachel Paulose may well be a bright lady, she may even be a talented person [though there’s not much that suggests that], but she’s hardly up to job she was given – by any criteria. She was appointed because she was in the right clubs – period, and her claims of prejudice and McCarthyite hysteria do her a disservice…

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