We're coming to you today from the What Goes Around Comes Around Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. WGACA is a subsidiary of the Reap What you Sow Company in partnership with Karma's an Unforgiving Harpy With A Shrill Voice And An Unpleasant Outlook, Inc.
It seems that after eight years of starting wars, wrecking the environment, ignoring the needs of people devastated by natural disasters, shredding the Constitution, oh, and wrecking the economy too, people who worked in the Bush administration are having trouble getting jobs now that their gravy train of perks, payola and privilege has finally pulled into the station.
Now, generally we take a forgiving view here at IM Central, and we seldom wish harm to come to any of our fellow creatures. However, given what this load of toadies, ideologues, cretins and outright crooks have put this country through in the last eight years, we feel the best we can do in this circumstance is: Poor babies.
"For Republicans, the inn is full," lamented veteran GOP operative Ron Kaufman, a close White House adviser to former president George H.W. Bush and an executive at Dutko Worldwide. "Look, when we ran the government having no expertise in the area you were hired for wasn't a deal breaker. Now, it's just not a fun time because you have to actually have a skill to get hired."
Well, to be fair, even in the best of times job hunting is difficult when you list your top skill as the ability to make a bad situation worse, and you list Jesus as a reference.
"It's a bear market out there, no question, for Republicans leaving the Hill or the administration," said Tom C. Korologos, a longtime Republican adviser and so far unindicted lobbyist who served as Bush's ambassador to Belgium from 2004 to 2007 because that's how long it took him to find it on a map. "You're a caretaker for a while, and all of a sudden there's nothing left to take care of. That's when you know you've done your job."
And these people do have a lot of experience taking care of things. They took care of the peace; they took care of the Constitution; they took care America's reputation in the world; they took care of the federal budget surplus; and they took care of millions of peoples' futures. On the bright side, they did do a lot for the growth of the prosthetic limb industry.
Mostly though, they just took care of themselves.
In the current political climate, ties to an unpopular president could hurt candidates. "I think there are people whose connection to the Bush administration will be a kind of taint if they try to stay in Washington," said Calvin Mackenzie, a professor of government at Colby College. "Actually, on second thought, I think that kind of taint will stay on them if they remain on the planet. Maybe even in the solar system."
"I think the reports of their unmarketability are exaggerated," unindicted lobbyist Tony Podesta said. "If you're an economist and you're smart and skillful, I don't think the fact that Bush was president and Democrats found him to be unpopular will kill anyone's chances of finding a good job, because if you were smart or skillful you weren't in the Bush administration in the first place."
"The cream always rises to the top," added Nels Olson, of the executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International. "Which is another reason things look so bleak for people coming out of the Bush administration."
Still, one day last week, Michael Castine, also of Korn/Ferry, said he had received calls from half a dozen senior White House aides "who don't have anything in the hopper yet " he said, "They are dead end losers who stayed the course and are not sure what they're going to do. Turns out being a sycophant is not a marketable skill. Who knew?"
We have an idea. After all, they were responsible for creating the demand.
A host of Republican heavyweights have been inundated with pleading, crying and gnashing of teeth from Bush appointees seeking jobs. In the toughest spot are those leaving junior staff positions in the White House, Congress or federal agencies who were mostly responsible for anointing door jams and interfering with people who actually knew how to do their jobs. During the boom years, they could land comfortable jobs in the RNC but Andrew H. Card Jr., Bush's former chief of staff, said he has "suggested that they broaden their horizons beyond the Beltway. I've been looking at the people Obama is bringing in and opportunities for people who don't know their elbow from a hole in the ground is going to get awfully slim here in a short while."
Kaufman, a close friend of the Bush family, helped many loyalists land appointments at the beginning of the Bush presidency. Now, he said, "I'm telling most of these folks, 'Go home. Take the expertise you've learned here, go back home and apply it to a trade back home.' You know, something related like safe cracking, or stealing widows' inheritances."
Some Bush officials have succeeded in their job searches. Jim Wilkinson, a former top aide to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and most recently chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., is moving to San Francisco, where he will become a gay street vendor.
Rice, meanwhile, will return to Stanford University, where she had been provost before joining the Bush administration. "We're pretty sure we can find her a place in the Physical Plant Department," said a university spokesperson. "We've had some retirements in groundskeeping."
White House press secretary Dana Perino plans to travel with her husband to volunteer in South Africa at the Living Hope Community Center, a beneficiary of Bush's anti-AIDS initiative. "I didn't want to sit around the house thinking about what I want to do next," Perino said. "I wanted to do something that would help others. It's sort of payback for spending the last few years spinning, dissembling, obfuscating and outright lying to everyone who came in front of my face."
Perino said many White House employees have been too busy in the final months of the Bush presidency to look for new jobs, but acknowledged the difficulty. "Certainly it's not the roaring days of the dot-com boom or the 52 months of growth we saw during this administration," Perino said, getting a plug in for her boss's economic record.
We're sorry. What? Guess when you've been unable or unwilling to tell the truth as long as Ms. Perino has, it's sort of hard to just stop.
Maybe they should apply at Disneyland.