Bush's "Mean Girls" Government
March 13, 2007
Like the sorority sisters at Delta Zeta, White House officials Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, Alberto Gonzales, and President Bush looked around at the nation's U.S. attorneys’ offices, and didn't like what they saw: Too many embarrassing investigations of corrupt Republican lawmakers, and not enough Administration cheerleading.
As Newsweek put it in a story about Delta Zeta's purge of overweight and minority sisters at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, the sorority was "acquiring a campus rep for being more brainy than beautiful."
Karl Rove couldn't have put it better himself. It was more or less the same complaint he made to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the U.S. attorney in New Mexico, David Iglesias, getting on the wrong side of Republican hacks in that state. Iglesias wasn’t pressing hard enough on corruption investigations of Democrats. Rove managed to get him, along with six other prosecutors, fired. The Justice Department replaced the U.S. attorney in Arkansas with a Republican Party lawyer who was a Rove acolyte.
But while Delta Zeta only cut two-thirds of its "uncool" sisters at Depauw, the Bush Administration decided to go for broke. Bush's tightest home girl, Harriet Miers, asked her good buddy, Gonzales aide Kyle Sampson, if they couldn't just get rid of all 93 U.S. attorneys and replace them with members of the Republican Party clique.
As Carolyn Thatcher, a former chapter president of Delta Zeta who was purged, put it to Newsweek: "I'm not necessarily the most outgoing, most bubbly personality. . . .I'm not blond. I'm a brunette. . . . I will admit that I wear jeans and a T shirt almost every day to class." Still, she said, "I don't think I lack dedication. I've given up multiple opportunities in order to be able to devote more time to being president and helping with this organization."
The career prosecutors who were summarily dumped by the Justice Department, despite sterling resumes and high marks for job performance, felt the same way.
The Justice Department claimed that bad management and lack of aggressiveness were the reasons for firing the prosecutors. Delta Zeta claimed it only got rid of sorority sisters who weren't dedicated enough to its recruitment drive. But in both cases, someone smelled a rat. Delta Zeta wanted only blond, perky, skinny sisters to represent it at DePauw. Bush just wanted Republican partisans in the U.S. attorneys’ offices.
In both cases, the "cool" kids went too far. DePauw has decided to dump Delta Zeta. "We at DePauw believe that the values of our university and those of the national Delta Zeta sorority are incompatible," university president Robert Bottoms wrote.
As for the White House, "House and Senate investigators have already made clear that they want to examine exactly what role White House, Mr. Sampson, Ms. Miers, Mr. Rove, and other senior officials played in the matter," The New York Times reports.
It just goes to show what a perfidious thing it is to be part of the "in" crowd. As President Bush is learning, being popular doesn't last forever.