And the organization kids shall inherit the earth
Kevin Drum goes after David Brooks today, noting that Donald Berwick, who's been nominated to head the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, doesn't fit the "organization kid" model that Brooks laid out in his column about Elena Kagan. In fact, Berwick has been so relentlessly outspoken that Republicans are finding plenty of reasons to oppose his nomination. "So maybe the Organization Kids aren't taking over Washington DC after all," Drum writes.
Actually, I think this is unfair to Brooks, who didn't say that the organization kids are taking over DC. But the more important point is that these two things are connected. Look at how Berwick, Zeke Emanuel (excuse me, "Dr. Death"), and Cass Sunstein (who apparently wants to let your dog sue you) have fared in government: Their voluminous, intellectually interesting writings have turned into an arsenal of ammunition for the opposition.
In a world like that, you don't need more organization kids to see them dominating positions that require Senate confirmation -- they'll just be chosen for the gigs in high numbers. And as that dynamic becomes better understood, people with high ambitions will learn to keep their paper trail sparse, becoming organization kids whether they're temperamentally suited to it or not. As it becomes increasingly clear that anything you write or say can be found, uploaded to YouTube, and used against you at a later date, people who think they might be in public life someday will stop writing and saying, well, anything. And that won't mean our nominees will be more or less ideological, just that we'll know less about them until it's too late.
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