Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Next Chapter in the Hackocracy: Ellen Sauerbrey

A new name joined the teeming legions of George Bush's appointments of incompetent Republican political hacks this month when Bush nominated Ellen Sauerbrey to the position of Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). "Fair and balanced" national news coverage has characterized that Democrats object to Bush's crony appointments of Sauerbrey and others (infamously including Harriet Miers) "because they lack high-level experience."

High-level experience? How about any experience at all?

The primary role of the assistant secretary for PRM is to oversee the U.S. refugee assistance and admissions programs and coordinate U.S. international family planning programs. Sauerbrey has NO experience with refugee protection or in responding to humanitarian emergencies.

Let's compare Bush's nominee with Phyllis E. Oakley, President Bill Clinton's appointee to head the State Department's refugee program:
  • Master's Degree from the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy at Tufts;
  • International Affairs Consultant to the National Board of the YWCA;
  • Career member of the Foreign Service Office since 1974;
  • Served with distinction under presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton;
  • State Department's Afghanistan Desk Office from 1982 to 1985;
  • Seconded to the Agency for International Development (AID), working with the Afghanistan Cross-Border Humanitarian Assistance Program in Islamabad, Pakistan, 1989-1991;
  • First woman Deputy Spokesman for the State Department, 1986-1989;
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Analysis, Bureau of Intelligence Research, 1991-1993;
  • Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (then known as the Bureau for Refugee Programs);
  • Received two Departmental Superior Honor Awards, for her performance as Afghanistan Desk Officer and as Deputy Spokesman;
  • Received Intelligence Community's National Intelligence Medal of Achievement.
Contrast the qualifications of Ellen Sauerbrey, Bush's nominee to fill the same shoes:
  • Republican member, Maryland House of Delegates, 1978-1994; also Republican minority leader;
  • Failed Republican candidate for Governor of Maryland, 1994;
  • Failed Republican candidate for Governor of Maryland, 1998;
  • Maryland radio talk-show host on WEAL
  • Maryland for Bush 2000 Campaign Chairperson;
  • Delegate to seven Republican National Conventions.
But it gets better! Sauerbrey is not just a Republican political hack: This Bush crony is also a vocal Bush apologist and an ideological hack!
    In her current role as Bush's U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, Sauerbrey is proud to say she is "a conservative, not a feminist".
    She approves of President Bush's withholding of funding to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, charging that the money is "being used for coercive abortions in China," despite numerous findings to the contrary.
    Sauerbrey has also denied that adolescents have any right to exercise autonomous control over their reproductive health and has called abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education the healthiest and most responsible method of HIV prevention suitable for adolescents.
    She has opposed ratification of the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a United Nations treaty agreed to by more than 180 countries (excluding the United States).
    She has objected to language in U.N. documents that requires countries to "condemn violence against women and refrain from invoking any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination as set out in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women."
But why take my word for it, when we have primary sources? Go read Sauerbrey's address to right-wing lobby group United Families International, and let her damn herself with her own words.

If you believe the SCOTUS-endorsed election results, in 2000 and 2004 50% of Americans stood up and announced they were tired of educated people, they were sick of competent government agencies, they'd had it up to here with qualified, experienced, intelligent people running the country efficiently.

So now, instead, we get corrupt crony appointments of comically unqualified Republican hacks and party loyalist. And, to run critical refugee and population programs, we get Ellen Sauerbrey, the anti-feminist who is against science, condoms, birth control, and education, but is in favour of discrimination and violence against women. (Note to refugees of the world: point your boats at other shores.)

The kicker? Associated Press reports that Sauerbrey, who is currently facing confirmation hearings with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is expected to win confirmation despite Democrats' objections, with a committee vote as soon as next week.

As we look at the never-ending parade of Bush's incompetent, unqualified appointees (cf Harriet Miers, Michael Brown, Daniel Craig, Patrick Rhodes, Julie Myers, Steward Simonson, J. Dorrance Smith, ad infinitum), the Associated Press report raises three questions: are there any limits to Bush's hubris? How long will Democrats roll over and play dead on these nominations? And, in both cases, how long will the American people put up with it?

Articles by Shaula Evans in the Same Series

Part 1 The Next Chapter in the Hackocracy: Ellen Sauerbrey
Part 2 Hack Watch: The Ellen Sauerbrey Reader
Part 3 Hack Watch: Ellen Sauerbrey Action Alert

This article is also cross-posted at The Blogging of the President.

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