Sunday, April 15, 2007

The lady doth protest too much, methinks

Your friend Spotty really has a way with words, doesn't he, boys and girls?

Spotty, you know darn well that's a famous line from Shakespeare's Hamlet.

As you wish grasshopper, but the line certainly applies to our own Queen Gertrude, Rachel Paulose. Dan Brown from the Strib interviewed her recently and wrote about in today in an article that appeared page A-1, above the fold. Here's the lede paragraphs:

Rachel Paulose, the embattled 34-year-old U.S. attorney for Minnesota, cannot fathom how she came to be portrayed in some recent news reports and blogs as a mean-spirited, autocratic climber who may have gotten her job as part of a scheme in Washington to replace independent prosecutors with GOP foot soldiers.

"These wild conspiracy theories are just that -- totally off base," Paulose said in her first interview on the subject. "No one communicated to me -- in any form -- about any plan to remove any U.S. attorney."

Paulose was shocked to be appointed—out of the blue—as the U.S. Attorney for Minnesota:

Six weeks after starting her job in Washington, Minnesota U.S. Attorney Thomas Heffelfinger resigned, and Paulose was quickly appointed as his interim replacement. A lifelong Republican [she wrote impassioned op-eds in support of Ronald Reagan during study hall in middle school; okay, Spot made that up], she said she was as surprised by the appointment as anyone, noting that she had signed a year's lease for an apartment in Chevy Chase, Md.

According to Paulose, Paul McNulty, or somebody anyway, just walked into her office six weeks into her new job and said, "Pack your bags, kiddo, you're moving to Minneapolis!" This came as a complete surprise to Rachel! She was just ordered to go, and like a good soldier, she went! She still doesn't know how it happened.

Is that the Queen Gertrude moment, Spotty?

What do you think grasshopper?

There were, of course, rumblings when Paulose was appointed:

Paulose's appointment in March 2006 as interim U.S. attorney raised eyebrows among some former colleagues in that office and the cloistered world of Minnesota's federal bar.

Publicly, no one objected to the choice, but privately some wondered how a young woman with virtually no management experience had bested more seasoned candidates for one of the most coveted legal jobs in Minnesota.

Those questions grew in the aftermath of revelations on the replacement of eight U.S. attorneys since August, allegedly because at least some wouldn't bend to political pressures. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is scheduled to testify Tuesday before a Senate committee investigating the matter.

Paulose got swept into the controversy April 5 when three top attorneys resigned their administrative posts because of her management style. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., cited the tumult as an example of Gonzales having planted unprepared "cronies" in U.S. attorney jobs.

The resignations stung, Paulose said. But she rejects any suggestion that they indicate she is unqualified.

"I'm a strong-willed person," she acknowledged Thursday. "I think that I'm also a generous and loyal and kind person."

You know, Rachel, it sounds to Spot that you're not so much strong willed as you are a stiff-necked crank who isn't old enough to have had some of the rough edges sanded off. Boys and girls, when Spot was much younger, he thought the value of experience was highly overrated. But experience, of all things, taught him he was wrong.

Even if it turns out that Paulose was not involved in the skullduggery at the Justice Department, her appointment does stand as ample evidence of the cronyism that Senator Schumer described. It's just another example of the de-professionalization of the federal bureaucracy by the Bush Administration.

Spot believes this is going to be a blot on her escutcheon that Rachel Paulose is going to have to wear her whole career.

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