As told by David Ignatius.
The Bush political operatives have become the people the Republicans once warned the country against — a club of insiders who seem to think that they’re better than other folks. They are so contemptuous of government and the public servants who populate it that they have been unable to govern effectively. They are a smug, inward-looking elite that thinks it knows who the good guys are by the political labels they wear.
This contempt has been evident in many of the administration’s failures. The disastrous incompetence of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 flowed from its status as a clubhouse for ambitious conservatives eager to punch a political ticket in a country they knew nothing about. The political purges that enfeebled the CIA in 2005 were the work of a conservative former member of Congress, Porter Goss, and a coterie of political aides he brought from Capitol Hill who thought they knew more about intelligence than career professionals. The administration’s signature failure, its bumbling response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was the work of a right-wing political appointee who knew almost nothing about disaster management and who scorned many of the bureaucrats who worked for him.
Here is the primary defect of movement conservatives – people who care more about the ideological flavor of a work product than its quality will do a crappy job. The problem extends beyond neutral jobs like dealing with hurricanes to preferred policies like rebuilding the middle east or rewriting the entitlement code. Read Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s reporting from Iraq to get a sense of how, even for the most important initiative in the entire Republican agenda, competence always loses to ideological purity.
Frankly, if I supported rightwing politics I would probably despise them even more. At least for libs like me the grand crash-and-burn of movement conservatism has an upside.