Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A New Job

I've been nominated to take on a new job.

As a pilot. I think I can do it. I mean, I've flown on lots of planes. I've even known my share of airline personnel over the years. And I'm a man of principle and values, and anyone who knows me knows that I am a fast learner and can pick up anything while on the job. And my values and principles don't change, based on a change in altitude or situation.

Anyone wanna ride on my plane?

Of course I'm being sarcastic, as we gear up for another round of silliness in D.C. with the latest addition to the cast of Friends, I mean the clique (s)elected to live in Washington, the lovely, talented, and mean elementary school teacher look-alike, Harriet Miers.

I get regular e-mails from a progressive political organization, MoveOn, and today the mail encouraged all of us to find out as much as we can about Ms. Miers. Here's a summary of her career, as MoveOn summarized it, courtesy of the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary, to help jump start your research:

1970—Graduated from Southern Methodist University Law School
1970-1972—Clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Joe Estes
1972-2001—Joined Texas law firm, Locke, Purnell
1985—Elected president of the Dallas Bar Association
1986-1989—Member of the State Bar board of directors
1989-1991—Elected and served one term on the Dallas City Council
1992—Elected president of the Texas State Bar
1993-1994—Worked as counsel for Bush's gubernatorial campaign
1995-2000—Appointed chairwoman of Texas Lottery Commission by Gov. George Bush
1996—Became president of Locke, Purnell, and the first woman to lead a major Texas law firm
1998—Presided over the merger of Locke, Purnell with another big Texas firm, Liddell, Sapp, Zivley, Hill & LaBoon, and became co-managing partner of the resulting megafirm, Locke Liddell & Sapp
2000—Represented Bush and Cheney in a lawsuit stemming from their dual residency in Texas while running in the Presidential primary
2001—Selected as staff secretary for President Bush
2003—Promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
2004—Selected as White House Counsel

There are many important questions that need to be addressed, including:
What policies did she advocate for on the Dallas City Council?
What was her record at the head of the scandal-ridden Texas Lottery Commission?
What cases did she take on while working as a corporate lawyer in private practice, and what positions did she fight for?
What has she written or said in and outside of her law practice about her views on constitutional issues like privacy, the "commerce clause" or equal protection
As White House councel Alberto Gonzales played a pivotal role in softening America's stance on torture. What positions has Harriet Miers advocated for in the same role?
Has she ever publicly distanced herself from George W. Bush?

It's important that we move quickly in answering these questions. The Bush spin machine has been prepared for this nomination for some time and is already cranking at full speed. The strategy is to move Miers through as an enigma. We need to make sure the facts about her views are known.

But mean elementary school look-alikes aside, I started thinking about people I have worked with over the years, who, through pure personality, going along to get along, similarities (like being part of the 'majority' if you know what I mean), befriending the leaders and spouse, and browning up their noses, have moved up and along the ladder of organizational success. Some of these folks have had different qualifications than what I would have imagined being needed for their positions -- skiing together on weekends, baking cookies every other week, hanging out in the leader's office, happy hour, etc...-- qualifications that go beyond education, skills, and experience.

Having been in the workplace and college, I know the adage of "it's not what you know, but who you know" is true and makes and breaks careers at times. And I know it's also not fair in an ideal world, where concern for equality and social justice guide decisions.

On a related topic, check out Prodigal Sun's entry on being pimped for workplace diversity. Great essay, and I realize that, at times throughout my various jobs and career choices, I've been the same situation. Check it out.

Have a nice day... at your day job, night job, or your home job! Or... get yourself nominated for a new job :-)


lookN4Nemo said...

I love your entry Fred, by the way I must read your book. I support Bush nomination for Harriet Miers, I feel now she's in a position to answer and promote her private agenda to the public.

and to tell you the truth, I don't believe he distanced herself from Bush. The media didn't find her interesting until now.

I love your blog I'm going to come back more often.

Laylah Queen of the Night said...

Just stopping by. I cosign with the above comments, I dig your blog, too.