Barack Obama Administration

The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective [Reprinted with Permission]

The article below was written by a friend of mine who has a background working in the government. He has given his permission for me to reprint this on Daily Kos and ePluribus Media. The original article was posted on Gather.com as The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective. If you are so inclined, please send some traffic to the original article to help give it the bump & notice it deserves. Thank you. -- GreyHawk

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The GSA scandal -- a personal perspective


by John S.
First posted April 07, 2012 10:49 AM EDT

I used to work for the General Services Administration (GSA) before transferring to USDOJ.

The scandal which has been hitting the news is so different from the GSA I knew that it is like finding your sainted grandmother arrested by the police for having an orgy in front of the local courthouse on Sunday afternoon.

GSA had always been very strict on following government guidelines, and pinched every penny. No flying first class. No gifts. Everyone got training on how to avoid problems with the ethics rules. This was so much a part of the agency's culture it is hard to see how such a major change could take place.

I then found this article:

The Spawn of Judy Miller?

It only took a few paragraphs in to Salon's critique of the NY Times' handling of revelations - more specifically, the NY Times' exclusion of revelations - in wikileak's #cablegate  to begin to wonder about Obama's action, as well, and the meaning of it:

It is OK to criticize the Obama administration

And that is especially true when it involves the real big issues of our times... As long as that criticism is, ya know, based in the reality of the policies and not some insane rantings and ravings of fringe and conspiracy theory lunacies. Via Glenn Greenwald, Jon Stewart hit on some really big issues, last night and immediately after the somnambulic presidential address, and pulled no punches from the not so sleepy world of reality:

When ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero last week addressed the progressive conference America's Future Now, he began by saying:  "I'm going to start provocatively . . . I'm disgusted with this president."  Last night, after Obama's Oval Office speech, Jon Stewart began his show with an 8-minute monologue on Obama's executive power and civil liberties record which, in essence, provided just some of the reasons why Romero's strong condemnation is so justified.  None of this will be remotely new to any readers here, but it's still nice to see its being distilled so clearly by a voice which even the most hardened Obama loyalists have decided is a credible and trustworthy one (at least when he's mocking Sarah Palin and exposing Fox News; we'll see what reaction this provokes from them, if any).

There is no denying the truth in the accusations, nor IMHO the real importance of this issue that has been obscured with huge celebrations by Obama's most ardent supporters for tiny and relatively meaningless wins on comparatively less important issues, that Stewart makes in the video below the fold.

Situational Assessment: An Overview of the Obama Administration's Triage Approach

The following is derived from a comment I posted as part of an ongoing conversation in a DailyKos diary.* It's essentially my take on what the Obama Administration inherited from its predecessors, and how President Obama has had to take a triage approach in order to get a handle on the myriad of emergency situations left at his doorstep by the rapidly retreating Bush Administration.

Get some coffee, and then please add your thoughts -- I'd appreciate any feedback.

You're presuming "reckless spending" given type and consistency.

Under Bush/Cheney and the GOP majorities, "reckless spending" gutted national infrastructure and effectively pissed away money like a firehose streaming water into a hurricane.  The spending worked hand-in-glove with multiple policies and deregulations that caused much more problems, including increasing the wealth disparity and eliminating a large swath of the middle class.

The GOP and BushCo knew that the economy was going to tank by the end of Bush's term, but they miscalculated: they thought they could prevent it from showing ~before~ Bush got out of office so they could place the blame on the incoming Democratic Administration (by 2004, the GOP realized that they wouldn't likely retain the WH after Bush's term).

When Obama came into office, he was faced with what was essentially a no-brainer: either hunker down and work within the severely limited confines of financial collapse that BushCo left him, which would mean do literally nothing that cost any additional money and follow the rough rut that the BushCo debacle had effectively carved, or start spending the stimulus and redirecting it, adding and adjusting to it with additional programs and increasing debt temporarily in order to create "working capital"...

He chose the latter.  He didn't have to try hard to make that choice, either, as the economy was on a downward spiral that required at least some degree of action along the lines he took to avoid complete global collapse.

That also means, unfortunately, spending some money in ways and amounts that he didn't necessarily want to, but had to in order to quell certain potential panic reactions.

Now he's working to walk back the cat, instituting or announcing more financial regulation and program reform while working to implement a healthcare plan that extends coverage to more Americans while also BRINGING DOWN the deficit -- a twofer in terms of fiscal and social responsibility.

He's already working to get control of what was "reckless" under Bush and what he was forced into padding, and that's far more than BushCo ever did...and they left one helluva mess.  They did a lot of it on purpose, to ensure that the incoming Administration would have so much to repair, that they wouldn't likely be able to accomplish much.  And the GOP knew that it could screech that the new President was taking on too much too fast, when in reality I think Obama took on the top 3 to 5 items and is concentrating on the top 3 after triaging the wide-ranging debacle that was his predecessor's legacy.

As Obama progresses, he's also adjusting / correcting / redirecting funds, programs and policies to rebuild and support our national infrastructure -- necessary for effective progress in a variety of areas, and likely to also help increase/improve economic and job issues at the same time.

I concluded by mentioning that the habit of teabaggers and GOP shills to lump all spending together as "reckless" and ignoring the particulars of what was left to this administration and what it has to deal with to simply stabilize the situation was effective just an exercise in intellectually dishonesty.

...what do you think? Accurate or fair assessment of what was left by BushCo, initially addressed by the Obama Administration and depicting roughly where we're at now?

Let's get a discussion going in comments: is the assessment over-simplified, or could it explain some of the actions taken and backtracking now in process? What other factors do you see affecting the capacity of this Administration to make headway? What are the top ten major issues left for the incoming Administration? Inquiring minds want to know. :)