Time: “You’re doing a heck of a job, [insert name here]”

Time goes after the administration but good this week, alleging (and then making a pretty damn good case for) cronyism in the Bush administraition. It asks darkly “HOW MANY MORE MICHAEL BROWNS ARE OUT THERE?” and answers its own question with a few examples of dicey out-of-the-blue appointments that seem to put “connections before experience” (along with some damning quotes by experts). To wit:

  • Scott Gottlieb, Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific affairs at the FDA: “The appointment comes out of nowhere. I’ve never seen anything like that”(former FDA Commissioner Donald Kennedy)
  • David Safavian at the Office of Management and Budget (until his resignation Sept. 16th and arrest last week): “Safavian is a good example of a person who had great party credentials, but no substantive credentials” (Danielle Brian, executive director of DC watchdog group the Project on Government Oversight)
  • Julie Myers, current White House aide/niece of Air Force General Richard Myers, outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff/wife of Michael Chertoff’s chief of staff John Wood, up for head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency at the Department of Homeland Security: “I’d really like to have [Michael Chertoff] spend some time with us, telling us personally why he thinks you’re qualified for the job. Because based on the r&#233sum&#233, I don’t think you are.” (Ohio Republican Senator George Voinovich to Myers)
For some variety, elsewhere in the mag Matt Cooper portrays Bush’s response to Rita as a calculating PR-op. A far cry from “Man of the Year,” no?

Meanwhile, this week’s Newsweek has a double-whammy of a headline: “Government officials’ overreaction to Hurricane Rita still not enough to convince Americans U.S. Government is competent” — a nice follow-up to last week when Fareed Zakaria called Bush the most fiscally irresponsible president ever (NB this issue also has a damning interview with Hugo Chavez where he claims the administration has a plan — “Operation Balboa” — to invade Venezuela, and calls it a “Terrorist Administration.” Wondering about the backlash on him for that).

Upshot: The newsweeklies are clearly going after the administration. It should be interesting — if depressing — to see what they come up with going forward.