Michelle Malkin is perhaps the world's greatest practitioner of "I know you are, but what am I" conservatism. The Bush administration faced a great deal of corruption allegations -- from Jack Abramoff to the U.S. attorney scandal to Halliburton. So, Malkin writes a book titled Culture of Corruption about the Obama administration not even seven months in. Bush was accused of stacking his administration with unqualified cronies like former FEMA Chief Michael Brown, so Malkin has taken to use the word "crony" to describe people affiliated with Obama at every turn.
What's embarrassing though, is that she doesn't seem to know what the word "crony" means in a political context. For example, she's taken to calling Michelle Obama "the first crony" and David Axelrod Obama's "crony Chicago advisor."
The reason Michael Brown was called a crony is because his job seemed to have been given to him because of his political connections to the president, not because of his background in disaster response. That's what cronyism is: It's the awarding of plum jobs to unqualified people for political reasons -- and it was rampant in the Bush administration, from the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq to the Justice Department.
David Axelrod has had a long career advising everyone from Harold Washington to Deval Patrick, so being a political adviser in the White House is ... a job he's eminently qualified for. As for Michelle Obama, is Malkin implying that she isn't "qualified" to be first lady and is only getting the job because of a pre-existing personal relationship? That's kind of bizarre, because as far as I can tell the only qualification for being first lady is to have a pre-existing relationship with the president called "marriage."
At any rate, the overuse of the word "crony" is obviously just a rhetorical technique meant to associate the Obama administration with some undefined corruption. But it's telling that Malkin doesn't even seem to know what the word means. In fact, that would explain why the GOP is blocking qualified political appointees like Tom Perez: To them, "crony" just means someone they don't like and has no relationship to a person's qualifications.
-- A. Serwer
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