[Administrative aside: Hello and happy 2009. My apologies for the long silence since the last post. Holidays and world events have conspired to pile so much on my plate that I just shelved this for a while, and it seemed like maybe it was time to dust it off and try again. I am going to take a tip from myself, back in May 2007, and remember that the perfect is the enemy of the good. We’ll see how far I get with that.]
There have been so many events in Washington that it is impossible to know where to start – talks of nationalizing the banks, $150 million parties, &c., &c. Still, closer to the themes that are followed here at Quod Ero Spero, I feel compelled to address the issue of a waiver for the confirmation as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Raytheon executive William Lynn. I can only assume that Mr. Lynn is a thoroughly ethical gentleman, and I encourage you to read up on him for yourself. The job for which he has been tapped is a specialized one, and some will say fewer than a dozen people alive have the skills and background to manage the position. I do not disagree with any of that.
What makes me sit back in surprise is the media’s ability to trumpet President Obama’s “sweeping reforms” about issues of ethics and conflict of interest for executive branch appointees and then to note the near silence with which the same media greets the news that the new ‘transparent, accountable, and responsible’ Administration is seeking a waiver for an appointee in its first week in office. Hence the title of this blog post, which I think summarizes the message pretty clearly.
For a more detailed discussion of Lynn and the issues surrounding him, I encourage you to check out the always-fabulous Ares blog, and John Doyle’s post here. There’s a good pointer in the comments there to more questions about Lynn’s Clinton-era performance raised in CQ Politics.
Perhaps I should close with one of Ike’s most well known speeches from 48 years ago: