Thursday, November 30, 2006

How To Wreck A Government In Three Easy Steps

This is going to be my best-selling book some day, though it could also be titled All I Need To Know I Learned From The Bush Administration, because it was this administration which taught me how to get a government into a state ready to be drowned in a bathtub as Grover Norquist so famously expressed the innermost desires of many wingnuts. Either way, the three steps you need to take are these:

1. Start a few wars so that you will be a wartime administration. It is unpatriotic and treasonous to criticize a wartime administration. This gives you time for the wrecking operation. If the time is insufficient, point out that it is unpatriotic and treasonous not to re-elect a wartime administration.

2. For each Department, find people who absolutely loathe the stated tasks of the department, and then appoint them to run it. This "fox in the chicken coop" principle works beautifully, as can be seen in what has been done to the Environmental Protection Agency and to the Department of Health and Human Services. Or with any appointment having to do with women's rights. Now, this is quite likely to be enough to make a mess of most things the government is supposed to perform but if it isn't, there's always the third step:

3. Get rid of the civil service. Dan Zegart has written a how-to article about this in the Nation (available only to subscribers). The steps consist of exploiting the 9/11 tragedy to get rid of much of the protection unionization awards and then to get rid of career workers to the greatest extent possible. This has two big pluses: First, it removes experience and skills and makes the government less efficient, and, second, it gives more openings to stark-crazy wingnuts in important positions. And the beauty of this all is that the new appointees will be around even if a Democratic administration is elected at some future point! So very clever.

What do you think of this plan? There is a fourth step, in reality, which is to harvest all the money you possibly can out of the government, but books with an even number of steps don't sell unless you get to at least ten steps...