Administration Puts Ideology First

NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency have suppressed research findings, and the Justice Department used ideology to hire candidates for nonpolitical positions. The Bush administration is putting ideology ahead of policy — and the facts.

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MICHELE NORRIS, host:

Washington has seen its share of scandals lately, not that that's news necessarily, but a parade of alleged wrongdoing by the Bush administration has led NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr to, well, if not despair, then maybe lament.

DANIEL SCHORR: We like to associate NASA with the right stuff, and so it's disappointing to learn than an inspector general's report found political appointees in NASA to be engaged in the wrong stuff.

For at least two years, the agency has been suppressing and distorting researchers' findings about climate change. This is only one example of an administration nearing its end thrashing about in an advanced state of decomposition, trying to maintain its hold on unpleasant information.

The Environmental Protection Agency, like NASA, has been playing fast and loose with research findings. A federal appeals court found fatal flaws in the EPA's approach to air pollution, rejecting any mandatory controls.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is struggling to cope with the housing crisis, having last April lost its department head, Alphonso Jackson, accused of contract favors to cronies.

The Justice Department is embarrassed by revelations that what should have been the most non-partisan of agencies has been one of the most partisan. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had to resign after the uproar over the disclosure of the firing and hiring of at least nine U.S. attorneys on the basis of their political credentials.

Now the inspector general comes out with new word of political appointment of federal immigration judges. So much has been subject to the deadening hand of an ideological administration. State and local officials nationwide are protesting that a Department of Homeland Security, funneling $1.8 billion in anti-terrorism grants, is diverting funds from the fight against drugs, gangs and violent crime at home.

In a recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, 30 percent of people approve of the job that President Bush has been doing and 64 percent disapprove. Any wonder? This is Daniel Schorr.

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