The Obama Office of Personnel Management has issued new regulations to crack down on the notorious process of ‘burrowing in’. That is, political appointees who try to worm their way into the permanent civil service.
The new regs have caused a storm on the right with wingers arguing that it’s the beginning of a purge of Bushies who did this under the Bush administration — and though the practice is by no means new, the Bush administration was particularly egregious at it. When we first looked at the story I was interested to see whether this was actually the case because it would pose a really interesting and important question about how to balance contending interests in good government. On the one hand, the Bush administration did this so egregiously, a lot of these folks probably should be removed. On the other hand, doing so would set a very troubling precedent, with each new administration, potentially, beginning with a review of new federal bureaucrats whose views they don’t like.
Alas, it turns out that this isn’t even what the administration is doing. So the right-wing criticism seems to be bunk, thus depriving us of an interesting reporting question.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.