Explain This to Me

Rush (via RedState) has got the Wingbots all worked up over a memo that allegedly says the Obama Administration is going to purge Republicans from civil service jobs. This is the memo that is supposed to say that. It’s late and I’m tired, but I can’t even tell what it was their fevered brains misconstrued to mean Republicans are being purged from civil service jobs. The word “Republican” does not appear in the memo.

I think what it’s saying is that they’re on the lookout for Bush appointees whose appointments did not comply with “merit system principles and applicable civil service laws” — meaning they were given jobs for which they were not qualified, I assume — but nothing in the memo seems to say such people will be purged. They just will be filtered from receiving further appointments. At least, that’s how I interpreted it. Maybe some of you could have a whack at this with fresh eyes and explain it to me.

14 thoughts on “Explain This to Me

  1. Just looks like a bunch of OPM government talk to me. I know about these memos as I’ve spent plenty of hours in the last year on the OPM website trying to figure out how to get myself one of those jobs. Like we have all observed before, these wingers are paranoid, hostile to rational thought, unable to communicate or to listen to people they disagree with, and too often they are armed.

  2. How I read it: Going back 5 years, any political appointee who wants to move up has to go through OPM and qualify for the job they want to move TO. There is no ‘purge’ in the sense of demanding resignations. But if a Bush appointee is trying to move other GOP underlings up to key positions to get a lock on a department, they can’t do it UNLESS the people who want to move up are QUALIFIED by an impartial application of the rules of the Office of Personel Management. Those rules were in force only one year of four – now those rules will be in play ALL the time.

    My guess is that someone in the administration observed Bush appointees playing chess with key positions under them. Rather than establish a whole department to spy on Bush appointees, they put everyone, everywhere under OPM rules. Game over.

  3. I was Civil Service for 31 years; and worked my last 24 years in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. This is something that happens with every change of administration–particularly when the change includes a change in the party of the administration. Many appointees want to keep their jobs because they don’t want to move out of the area, can’t get a better job, etc. It is known to us career employees as “embedding”. In the last year of an administration, the powers that be will try to turn appointee positions into Civil Service positions, usually in creative ways that may or may not follow the Civil Service regs. I retired because I hated what the unqualified Bush appointees were doing to the Federal workforce. (I also found out that my retirement was good enough to pay me close to what I was earning while working. Especially, if I moved to my home town Tacoma, WA.) As I said, this happens with every change of administrations; and, the wingnuts are just trying to make every one think this is the first time it’s happened. It’s not; and, it won’t be the last time. You should have seen what W’s administration did to get rid of any Democrats. Thus, it appears to me to be a boilerplate memo that comes out as regularly as national elections.

  4. I agree with Doug’s take. I think this is the part that set Rush’s bowels arumbling:

    In no case may an agency make an appointment of the type described below without written authorization from OPM:
    The appointment of a current political Schedule A or Schedule C Executive Branch employee or a former political Schedule A or Schedule C Executive Branch employee who held the position within the last five years to a competitive or non-political excepted service position under title 5 of the U.S. Code.

    Notice the keyword “competitive.” That and “merit” appear consistently throughout the memo. Two concepts completely foreign to the Bush crony-ocracy; and if Rush is to be believed, concepts foreign to Republicans in general.

    Boo hoo, Rush. The world is fair sometimes. Take some more Oxycontin and go back to sleep.

  5. It might help to remember that if you are not catering to right-wing interests, it means you are actively working against them.

  6. …yup, Doug’s fresh eyes nailed it for you, maha. The memo expands the requirement for prior OPM approval of the appointment of current or former non-career or political Executive Branch appointees to include appointments in years other than presidential election years. Perhaps more notably, it adds that “prior approval” requirement for appointment to excepted service positions, which aren’t governed by normal “open competition” requirements and were the way that many “embeds” converted to career positions toward the end of Bushco II…

  7. It’s like the Republicans are going out of their way to confirm all my nastiest prejudices about them. It sounds like the civil service is trying to weed out incompetence, so of course that’s going to disproportionately affect Republicans.

  8. How about them US attorneys during the Bush administration?

    I remember when the issue of incompetent political appointees came up early on in the Obama administration. It was part of the new Justice Department’s fight against the creeping politicization in the agencies, including DOJ itself — and most notably. Well, not just creeping politicization but creepy incompetence. No more Brownies, one of the better known masters of lethal incompetence during the previous administration.

    From the wudge of periodicals jamming my mailbox today (NYer, NYRB, Harper’s), I see analyses of a dying GOP occupies a lot of journalists and commentators this week. What’s a feller like Rush gonna do if his cronies are fading away? Scream and yell all the more, I guess.

  9. Well the word “Republican” never has to show up, it says “qualified,” which means a purge, it’s all code words!

    I am certain Doug Hughes and Bonnie has it right as to what this policy means, there is nothing really here to be angry about, but this rarely stops the ignorant from whining like and crying.

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