Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Bush and Dissent

Kevin Drum notes the most recent example of the Bush administration's opposition to dissent:
"After discussing the huge strides the agency has made in doing business with minority-owned companies, (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development) Jackson closed with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor.

"'He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years,' Jackson said of the prospective contractor. 'He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something ... he said, "I have a problem with your president..."

"'He didn't get the contract,' Jackson continued. 'Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe.'"

There are so many ways to approach this, not the least of which is what Kevin notes: This wasn't a buried scandal, but something the HUD Secretary went out and announced. The darker side is that the Bush administration has waged a campaign against dissent in government agencies among lifelong professionals, people who attend Presidential rallies and events, sought to intimidate the media and intelligentsia, and now seeks conformity from private sector businessmen who want to do business with the government. You don't have to wear a tin-foil hat to wonder where it all ends.


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