David Halberstam once wrote a book about the Kennedy and Johnson men called The Best and the Brightest. The theme of that book was despite the qualifications and acclaim these public servants had earned before and during most of their White House Service, most still offered the Presidents poor advice on how to handle the war in Vietnam.
Now if most of the people regarded as the best and the brightest at that time helped lead this country into one of the worst foreign and military policy periods in our countries history, imagine what the President’s aides, probably some of the worst and dumbest to serve, can do to us.
Saturday Night Live actually captured the problem with a segment (link below) with actor Bryan Cranston, reprising his role of Walter White from “Breaking Bad,” becoming the nominee to head the Drug Enforcement Agency (D.E.A.) illustrating that the Administration’s goal to put people who oppose these departments at the head of them.
It has become so bad with the Trump choices that most sane people are scared if Jeff “I never met an immigrant I liked” Sessions resigns as the Attorney General. Just who are among this cast of incompetents in or headed to the Trump Administration.
This ultra-rightwing fanatic became our Secretary of Education despite promoting policies such as vouchers so religious schools can be partially subsidized with public monies. Since becoming the Secretary of Education (after a less than stellar performance at her confirmation hearings where she thought guns were needed in some schools to fight off grizzlies), she has been a champion for student loan companies who want to make the industry more profitable for them.
DeVos has also turned off people with her inattention to special education and civil rights. Walking out of a question and answer session with the Parkland High Students was not helpful either With no background in any sphere of public education, one has to ask, what is she doing there if not to undermine public education?
Not a week goes by when there is not some controversy involving Scott Pruitt, the former anti-Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A) Oklahoma Attorney General who, wait for it, became the head of the E.P.A. Pruitt has fashioned himself as a cross between a Sun King and a mob figure between not allowing scientists to speak their mind about the environment, making environmental rules and regulations more business-friendly and wasting public monies on first-class travel (to avoid contact with the people), installing a new “Bat Phone-Cone of Silence” communication system, and increased security detail that most other cabinet heads do not get.
This is all while he had a very nice residential rental arrangement courtesy of lobbyists whose pipeline expansion he approved. Finally, his arrogant behavior displayed when he asks his motor entourage to blast sirens so he can arrive at events quicker make people wonder if Scottie needs to be beamed out of the E.P.A. at the earliest opportunity.
Dr. Ben Carson
What qualifications (President Trump probably thought his being African American was the only qualification necessary) does Dr. Ben Carson, a well-regarded neurosurgeon, have to be the Housing and Urban Development Secretary? In a word, none. Carson has been out of his depth at H.U.D. and has invited controversy by purchasing a $31,000 dining room set and compounding the problem by blaming it on his wife.
With the aid of a compliant Republican Party (who confirmed all of the above nominees), Bridenstine received the consent of the Senate on his nomination to head the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (N.A.S.A.). While he is regarded as a war hero, he, like the nominee to head the Veterans Administration, has no management experience or background with the agency.
He has questioned the human factor in climate science, which makes him a good reactionary fit with the other executive department positions in this administration that handle scientific matters like the E.P.A. and Energy Department. With Russia serving as our caddy to the space station and the Chinese wanting to push their own vibrant space program, this is probably the wrong selection to lead our space agency for the coming years.
Dr. Ronny Jackson
Like Dr. Carson, Dr. and Admiral Jackson is a respected physician who has ably treated the recent occupants of the Executive Branch. How that background (even his military rank) translates to his ability to administer the Veterans Affairs Department is an open question. We should hope that the President and his allies do not treat Jackson as a figurehead while other Trump appointments beneath him privatize the operations and delivery services to our veterans who deserve the best care.
The wife of the former Louisiana Senator, this nominee to the Federal judicial bench in Louisiana’s Eastern District, would not answer the “softball” question if the Supreme Court Decision, “Brown vs the Board of Education,” was correctly decided. Considering that this was the decision that ended segregation in public schools and has been the law of the land for more than 60 years, her evasion alone should disqualify her.
Unfortunately, then-SenateSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced by then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the obstructionist Republicans to remove the filibuster option so President Obama’s appointments could be considered. Most could not foresee that a new administration would go out of its way to nominate the antithesis, the unqualified, and the unethical to fill posts in future governments. What is more astounding is people of supposedly “good judgment” in the Republican Senate Caucus have mostly put justifiable concerns aside and allowed these insults to public service to assume their positions by voting the party line.
This is not being a good check on the Executive Branch and this is not the behavior of good stewards of our Republic. Country should come before party always. The Worst and the Dumbest have no place shaping the policies that move our country backward instead of forwards.