The Aldrich Alert
Gary Aldrich

A Publication of the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty

Three-Legged Race

November 2, 2002

by Gary Aldrich - Volume 2, Issue 47

This article was first published on - October 23, 2002.

Every American knows what a three-legged race is. Even if you havenít been to a picnic, youíve seen television or movie versions of this funny event. A footrace is arranged, and just to make it interesting, two people are tied together with rope at their legs, and when the "go" signal is given, pairs of runners take off for the finish line trying to run with "three" legs. Needless to say, itís very awkward going – many contestants fall down.

When I look back on my federal government employment I recall many "three-legged race" occasions, when I was teamed up with somebody who was unable – for a variety of reasons – to synchronize their behavior so that we could "win the race" together.

Iím sure federal employees, current or former, can relate. President Bush is trying to do something about the lazy, incompetent, uncaring and corrupted federal employees weíve acquired over the years, but heís meeting stiff resistance from the Democrats who claim that if a president is allowed to hire, fire or promote federal employees on merit alone, weíll be headed back to the "bad old days."

I have a message for the Gephardts and Daschles of the dangerous world we live in: These are the bad old days.

September 11, 2001, was the peak of the bad old days, and many mistakes leading up to that date were made by employees who were hired, and oftentimes promoted, for all the wrong reasons. A combination of affirmative action programs driven by hiring quotas, along with the installation of rigid, politically correct conditions, cemented in these employees for as long as they wish to be employed by the taxpayers.

Many statistics bear out my claim. It was recently reported that while more than 80,000 federal employees were found to be performing at an unacceptable level, only a few hundred could be separated from service. When a career in the federal government can be as long as 40 years, one can readily see how "deadwood" accumulates. And these days, too much deadwood could leave many dead.

For those who claim that it should be hard for politicians to toss out employees for purely political reasons, I have one response: Billy Dale and the White House Travel Office.

The only recent example of political abuse of federal employees on record was masterminded by Hillary Clinton, now a U.S. senator. She and her husband, Bill, not only publicly fired and humiliated Billy Dale and his entire staff – who had served many presidents well – but they called in the FBI and IRS to harass them, as well. Trying to cover up for their raw act of political abuse, they even tried to imprison Dale, but a savvy Washington, D.C., jury tossed the case out in less than three hours of deliberation.

Are Democrats trying to save future federal employees from abuse from future Democratic leaders? I would submit that instead of hobbling the entire executive branch with arcane and useless "protections" for do-nothing federal employees, they might take a lesson from Republican leaders, who know not only how to maintain high morale, but also how to generate hard work and extreme loyalty from their staff.

Itís widely reported that when Bill and Hillary Clinton finally left the White House, White House staff – who are among the federal employees that Iím talking about – cried with joy! That joy continued when George W. Bush and Laura, along with former President Bush and Barbara, walked back into the White House on January 20, 2001.

Now admittedly, down at the Department of Health and Human Services, there may have been some grumbling on the part of career employees who are dedicated to the cause of social programs on the federal level. But since George W. Bush has become president, not a single whistle-blower from any of these "touchy-feely" agencies has come forward to complain about the way theyíve been treated. Thatís because they are being treated very well.

With my 10 years of experience on Capitol Hill and at the White House, I can testify that the work environment created by Republican administrations is very good for the federal worker, whereas the opposite is true when the Democrats take over.

I know that many federal workers visit the Web site where this article is posted, so never mind what I think. What do you think?

If you are a current or former federal employee, I would like you to send me an e-mail telling me whether you think Iím right or wrong about what Iíve written here. Cite examples, and in a future column I will report what I have been told. I promise to be honest, and Iíll keep your information confidential. After all, Iím a conservative and I donít need deception or spin to make my points, because the truth needs no pretty party balloons to enhance its attractiveness.

Nor does the truth need snake oil salesmen like Gephardt or Daschle to help it along. The federal government is bloated with personnel, and many are not doing the jobs they are paid to do. President Bush is trying to ensure that federal employees who want to work are not handicapped like three-legged racers at a picnic.

Letís sidestep Gephardt and Daschle and tell the people how things really are, shall we?