Federal agency human resources departments tried to stymie conservative hires, even under a conservative president, according to a former Trump administration official and president of the American Main Street Initiative, a political think tank. That’s one reason there is a strong leftward tilt in the federal bureaucracy.
“We’re supposed to be a nation of free, self-governing citizens who elect people to represent us, make our laws … [not] an executive branch that’s supposed to decree how we can live,” Jeff Anderson told Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts on his “Kevin Roberts Show” podcast. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news and commentary outlet.)
Before heading the American Main Street Initiative, Anderson was the director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the Department of Justice under President Donald Trump.
“The fact that they [leftist media] think dismantling the administrative state [the federal bureaucracy] sounds like destroying democracy—that speaks volumes right there,” Anderson said.
From the infiltration of vital institutions to the COVID-19 mask hysteria, the American people don’t like “the strong leftward tilt that seems to have bled straight out of the worst of academic coffee lounges into our politics,” he said.
Anderson found the largest impediment he faced while in the DOJ was the federal human resources departments at different agencies. The HR departments told him all new hires had to be existing federal employees or people from the “disabilities list.” The list included someone dealing with a drug problem, alcoholism, or morbid obesity, he said.
“They [HR departments] seem to think their goal is to stymie political appointees … or more exactly, to keep conservative political appointees from doing these things,” said Anderson.
Political appointees are those appointed by a president to serve during the term of his or her administration. They are not career employees. There are thousands of politically appointed positions throughout the federal government.
Talking about hiring skilled people from outside the government to serve in appointed positions, Anderson said, “It shouldn’t be hard to hire someone from the private sector. We shouldn’t be putting people who struggle with various things, alcohol and drugs, to the front of the line.”
Although many of these issues are “disturbing,” there are still many opportunities to lay the groundwork for change, Anderson said, in a warning to conservatives who think we should let government and the country hit rock bottom so we can push off for a “glorious tomorrow.”
Instead, Anderson said he believes there is hope for change in many of these institutions.
“There’s certainly the potential there for a major shift and conservatives to have power for quite a while, in which case a whole lot could be done with the administrative state,” Anderson said.
For example, the HR departments’ rules are often “made up” or a product of a prior administration, “so they can be undone immediately by a new administration,” he said.
“But even if things continue to decline as we’ve seen over the last few years, they can decline a lot faster if you don’t work hard to make that decline slower,” he warned. Americans are “just waiting for somebody to come up with these commonsense Main Street policies.”
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