Is Working for Bush a Good Career Move?
My piece on EPA administrator Stephen Johnson looks at how Johnson seems to roll over to the demands of not just George W. Bush or Dick Cheney, but peers like Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Office of Management and Budget Regulatory Affairs Director Susan Dudley.
Why does Johnson suffer the humiliation? Does he envision a lucrative future as a well-connected lobbyist? As a six-figure commencement speaker? Chief Johnson foe John Hirzy, executive vice president of the National Treasury Employees Union local 280, - a union representing environmental scientists that recently ended its longstanding partnership with EPA management- speculated Johnson has a future at a conservative think tank. Hirzy hadn’t heard of any official offers going Johnson’s way.
Any and all those things might happen, but the New York Times had a piece Sunday that might have made Johnson nervous. Since resigning as Attorney General last August, Alberto Gonzales still hasn’t found a job. The disgraced Bush administration official once looked like he might become the first Latino Supreme Court justice. But now he’s sending around his resume and asking friends if they know of any openings at D.C. law firms.
Gonzales does distinguish himself from millions of other unemployed Americans by making $30,000 speaking at universities. But many places of higher learning have decided Gonzales is too radioactive a figure to invite to campus. He is, after all, being investigated for lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee and is part of a separate Congressional investigation for approving torture.
Johnson isn’t as high-profile as Gonzales but with nicknames like "Stonewall Johnson" (by Talking Points Memo) and "Johnson-Come-Lately" (the environmental blog Gristmill) he’s honed his own reputation for evading Congressional investigators. Like Gonzales, he will soon find out whether being on a first-name basis with President Bush is an asset or an embarrassment.