Saturday, February 16, 2008


By Carl

The one
bulwark of sanity in the entire Bush Administration is leaving... and he's the last vestige of the Clinton Administration:

One of government's chief internal watchdogs resigned yesterday, as Comptroller General David M. Walker, an outspoken gadfly and frequent witness on Capitol Hill, announced his plans to lead a new foundation focused on U.S. fiscal responsibility.

Walker has led the Government Accountability Office, Congress's investigative agency, for a decade.

Walker was an outspoken critic of the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare spending -- issues on which the Democratic-led Congress, and Republicans before it, have had trouble building consensus.

This means George W. Bush will get to appoint a partisan comptroller who will be all over any Democratic presidency with respect to economic issues, a linchpin of the next four years as we struggle to steer a course through a depression.

On any number of occasions in the past, I've written admirably about
David Walker. He hasn't been afraid to call a spade a spade, going so far as to call America bankrupt, to highlight the problems facing returning Iraq invasion veterans, and to dispute the casualty rates the Pentagon has released.

In short, he's spoken up for solutions, when everyone else prayed the problem to go away quietly. And he managed to do all this with a hostile Congress and administration opposing him at every turn.

In fact, the only real black mark against Walker, the recent contract troubles within the GAO, even served a progressive purpose:
the first new governmental union in the past fifty years. In such fires, wise men make tools for progress.

His resignation takes effect on March 12. Had he not resigned, he could have served during Hillary Clinton's first term, as his term would end in 2013. The one saving grace is that the Democratic Congress will have a hand in naming his successor, who must be nominated by a bipartisan commission and confirmed in Senate hearings.

His is a shining example of what a political appointment should do, and demonstrates the depth of quality that was a hallmark of a Clinton administration, by recognizing problems, and finding the right people with the right answers.

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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