The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Trofim Lysenko Named National Science Advisor

Hoo boy. As difficult as it is to believe at this point, the White House has yet again replaced a departing official with someone even more grossly inappropriate for the position. It's that strange inability BushCo and the GOP have these days to do nothing that isn't brutally ironic.

Departing is the shockingly ineffectual Karen Hughes. All right, I take that back. Predictably ineffectual, given that she was nothing more than a beneficiary of the spoils system. Her most notable achievement?

Hughes boosted the number of Arabic speakers representing the U.S. in Arabic media, set up three rapid public relations response centers overseas to monitor and respond to the news, nearly doubled the public diplomacy budget to almost $900 million annually. Despite her efforts, polls have shown no improvement in the world's view of the U.S.

Which definitely earns her a place in the 21st century Republican pantheon of those mystical beings who dedicate themselves to fiscal responsibility and small government by spending vast amounts of cash to expand government programs that achieve nothing.

Already drowning in foreign-relations irony, who would the White House choose to replace her? How about the 'conservative intellectual' best known for making one of the most egregiously stupid predictions of the Information Age?

Of course, the AP article doesn't point that out. Instead, they praise his experience and "familiarity" with the problems he'll face. Salon points out the one thing Glassman is actually known for by the public at large: the book Dow 36,000.

Few people encapsulated the madness of the 1990s stock market bubble better than Glassman, and the appropriateness of such a blithe purveyor of happy talk as the Bush administration's chief spinmeister for foreign policy seems both absurd and utterly unsurprising.

Blogging at The Atlantic, Matthew Iglesias remarks that initially he couldn't believe the news: "Obviously, the same George W. Bush who thinks public diplomacy is just about salesmanship wouldn't give the job to one of the least credible salespeople on the planet."

Brad DeLong, after documenting how Glassman strove mightily to pretend that his book had never predicted that the Dow would jump immediately to 36,000, calls him a "mendacious wacko of the right" and says "It would be an elementary point to say that somebody who cannot tell the truth about his own book shouldn't be held out as the public face of American diplomacy by any administration."