Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The club Julia Pierson is joining: Life after a Washington scandal

It may be lonely at the top, but there’s no shortage of company among the fallen.

In that respect, the society that former Secret Service director Julia Pierson just joined is as long as it is elite. 

Its members have faced the kind of firing squad that only Washington can bring. The long-faced testimony before Congress. The lambasting by cable news pundits. And of course, the eventual, reluctant resignation. 

“It’s painful to leave as the agency is reeling from a significant security breach,” Pierson told Bloomberg News last week. But, she added, it’s “the noble thing” to step down and “take the pressure off the organization.”

Take heart, Julia Pierson. While we cannot guarantee your brethren meet for regular keg parties, we do know that there is life after being in (or nearly in) the administration. Look to those who’ve gone before you — take up writing, radio commentary or some long-latent passion. Stay in Washington — or don’t. Shill for wholesale guns and ammo as former FEMA director Michael Brown has taken to doing on his radio show’s Web site, or give a TED talk and start up a consulting firm in Alexandria, Va., like retired Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.

Whatever you do, carry on with the knowledge that the Washington controversy ecosphere has already moved on, looking for its next target.

As proof, we checked on a few others who spent time under the same bus you’ve been under — and lived to tell about it.
Martha Johnson
Watching Pierson’s testimony on Capitol Hill last week, Martha Johnson had flashbacks. Two years ago, Johnson was in that same hot seat, answering questions from several of the same lawmakers about her agency’s failures. “I know that feeling,” she said last week, “sitting there and facing the little microphone lights and the clock and looking up at the members of Congress.”

Johnson, too, resigned during President Obama’s tenure. In her case, the scandal was about egregious spending on a conference in October 2010 held by the General Services Administration, which she led at the time. The agency made headlines for violating contractor guidelines and wasting taxpayer dollars on hotel suites, expensive sushi and blackjack dealer vests. Johnson wasn’t present at the conference and the planning began before her tenure, but it transpired on her watch.

After Johnson’s congressional hearing, she says, she cried in the Metro. All her composure was used up in that room. She can imagine what Pierson feels right now, that sense of mourning.

In the months following her resignation, as the condolence cards petered out, Johnson penned a novel about a gay teenager in a small Indiana town. She found a certain comfort in fiction, and in the control it gave her over a story’s outcome.

After a period of distancing herself from an unraveled career, Johnson is searching for lessons from her time in government that might help others. She is writing books, blogging, speaking and consulting about leadership challenges.

Johnson didn’t particularly want to watch Pierson’s hearing on television, but she tuned in for part of it from her home in Annapolis, Md., where she spends most of her days.

“I feel I owe it to her to pay attention,” Johnson says. “It’s a sisterhood thing.”

The former GSA administrator talks with Lillian Cunningham about coping with a professional crisis. (Lillian Cunningham, Gillian Brockell, Sandi Moynihan and Julio C. Negron/The Washington Post) 
John H. Sununu
Sick of former politicos landing gigs yammering on your television screen? You can blame John H. Sununu for that.

After serving three years as George H.W. Bush’s right-hand man, Sununu was forced to resign from the position of chief of staff, only to quickly land a gig co-hosting CNN’s “Crossfire.”

“Nobody had ever gone from government service right to TV. I’m pretty sure I was the only one who ever did it,” Sununu said in an interview last week. “It was a great transition. I went back to a pretty decent income, and I didn’t have to worry about causing a problem for the guy I worked for. I could be as irresponsible as I wanted on ‘Crossfire.’ ”

Nice landing for a guy who resigned from the White House in 1991, saying he didn’t want to be “a drag” on the president’s reelection chances. For Sununu, there wasn’t one major scandal that led to his departure. It was a combination of his alienating the media, Cabinet and Congress with his abrasiveness; his role in helping shape a floundering presidency; and maybe his use of military aircraft and government limos for personal business.

Sununu, like many administration officials, had become a symbol for disarray plaguing the White House. And it’s always easier to vaporize a symbol than, say, get a domestic policy back on track.

“I had no problem with that,” Sununu says now. “That’s what I signed up for. You come in with a certain amount of political capital and if you’re doing your job right, you spend your political capital and not the president’s.”

The real beauty for Sununu is that he doesn’t think his ignominious departure had any effect on the trajectory of his life afterward. In addition to working on “Crossfire” from 1992 to 1998, Sununu went back to work as a consultant. “I never had to scramble to fill in dead time,” he says.

Even as a political figure, Sununu has maintained an exalted position. He was the chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party from 2009 until 2011. And by virtue of being in New Hampshire, he’s a popular guy.

“Everyone thinking about 2016 comes up and has coffee,” he says. “Anyone who knocks on the door, I’m happy to talk to them. But I’m 75 going on 76 and am about ready to slow down.” 
Linda Chavez
When Linda Chavez withdrew her nomination to become George W. Bush’s labor secretary in 2001, she cited “search and destroy” politics as the force that made her walk away. The source of the furor? She said she had given safe harbor and charity to a Guatemalan woman in need. Her critics claimed she knowingly employed an illegal immigrant.

So her career in the administration was over before it began.

“What was that song that was popular a few years ago?” she asks. “ ‘I get knocked down. I get up again.’ That’s the story of my life. In some ways, I’ve always been reinventing myself.”

Chavez has gone from Democrat to Republican, from Western girl to East Coast woman, from politico to commentator and back again. Consistent through all those changes, she says, has been her advocacy for workers’ rights and immigration reform.

Now there is this: writing fiction from her home in Boulder, Colo. In 2010, after writing two nonfiction books, she enrolled in the master of fine arts program at George Mason University to study creative writing.
Some of her professors were “quite astounded when they found who they had in their class,” she says. “But they were wonderful.”

Three of the five short stories she has published in recent years revolve around the North Korean prison system, a topic she became fascinated with during a stint with the United Nations Human Rights Commission. She is also at work on a novel based on her family’s buried history as “conversos,” Spanish Jews who converted to Christianity to avoid persecution during the Inquisition.

Chavez, who moved to Colorado in 2012, founded the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank focused on race-related issues. And her newest project is the Becoming American Institute, a one-woman shop aimed at changing the way conservatives think about immigration.

Her parting thought for Pierson — or anyone who finds herself on the wrong end of the Washington wringer — is this: “If you really know who you are and what you’re about and what you want to accomplish, then setbacks like this don’t have to be the end of the world.”
Alberto Gonzales
“After much thought and consideration, I believe this is the right time for my family and I to begin a new chapter in our lives,” Alberto Gonzales wrote to President George W. Bush in August 2007.

The attorney general tendered his resignation in the wake of the contentious firing of nine U.S. attorneys, purportedly for political reasons.

Right away, he got to spend more time with his family.

“That first day, I got to drive my son to the bus stop,” he says today. “I realized right away how much I had missed. . . . I would miss being involved [with the Justice Department], but you always know those jobs aren’t permanent.”

But being on the front page of national newspapers for being at the center of a scandal can have an impact on job prospects.

Before his name was dragged through the mud, he says, there were a number of Fortune 500 companies that were interested in having him work for them, but those opportunities vanished.

“Of course, it bothered me at the time,” he says. “It was a decision based upon incomplete and inaccurate facts. An image that was not true about my service. But these companies have stockholders to worry about. So, yeah, it bothers me, but it wouldn’t cause me to have done anything differently.”

Instead, Gonzales spent some time working for himself. He worked as a mediator, helping out with patent-infringement cases and other commercial mediation. Being put through the wringer by lawmakers and the media, being called out for saying almost 70 times in a single congressional hearing that he couldn’t remember the details that led to the firings, took a toll on him (and an even bigger toll on his wife), he says.
Getting to spend time with the family gave him an added bonus. Gonzales took his son to Nashville for a college visit a few years back. A few months later, it wasn’t just his son who would be heading to college in Tennessee. Belmont University Law School offered him a teaching job, and this year, he became the dean of the law school.

“Over time, the way people view me is going to be better, much like the Bush administration,” he says, noting that many of the policies derided during the Bush years are still in place under Obama. “I hope there are still chapters left to write in my story but what that will be, I don’t know.”

One thing is for sure: “I have no problems sleeping, absolutely not.”
Michael Brown
When things go wrong for Obama, it’s inevitable that someone — usually on television — will posit: “Is this Obama’s Katrina?” It’s a good shorthand for a completely bungled situation, for the personification of ineptitude.

And that’s kind of a bummer for Michael Brown, the former FEMA director who became the face of the George W. Bush administration’s incompetence before resigning just weeks after the storm. (In a sense, it was what he was asking for. On the day of the hurricane, he sent an e-mail to another FEMA official that said: “Can I quit now?”).

These days, Brown can be found every weekday on the AM side of the radio dial in the Denver area. He hosts a show from 4 to 7 p.m. (called “The Michael Brown Show”) where he talks about the news of the day from a conservative perspective. And lest anyone forget about his past life, the show begins with — among other things — an audio clip of former president George W. Bush saying: “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job.”

When Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, Brown saw an opening for his kind of expertise, going on Fox and writing an op-ed for a Canadian newspaper in which he said “Hurricane Sandy should teach all of us to chill.” His point was that it was a good excuse for people to unplug from their laptops etc.

Last week, Brown discussed his feelings about the term “Redskins” (he said people needed “to get thick skins”); he talked about PETA, new rules in California about what constitutes sexual assault on college campuses, and, of course, he talked about Pierson’s resignation.

“The incompetence that permeates this administration is simply mind-boggling,” he said.


[sidebar:  GOYIM [Goy].  The American "MAJORITY" are Goy.  IE stock, dumb animals for those that are called the ELITE in the papers such as the WASHINGTON POST [WP].  WP that is owned by the same ilk that calls ITSELF "the Elite".  These / 

THE ELITE:  PAEDOPHILES, almost-all ~almost all-the-time.  Fractions and factions of the species Homo Sapiens have destroyed the systems of inner-outer of the most powerful powers of the human being.  EG ISRAELI FIRSTERS and the so-self-proclaimed CHOSEN PEOPLE have managed to manufacture the HOLLYWOOD fraud that is called "reality".  Or, as the KISSINGER & ASSOCIATES REVOLVING DOOR OF GOVERNMENT SACHS USA, says: 
Criminal Insanity isn't sane.  Criminally insane haven't gotten saner and won't.  PLEASE:  METZITZAH B'PEH via "JEW" and the "VATICAN" CIRCUMCISION as well, the PINECONE BRONZE STATUTE (PITUITARY GLAND) CONTROL.  Mutilations of our own species and that's all folks! >> http://theartof12.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-four-curses-on-judaism-wherever-you.html <<



  1. Spooks and real education is like mixing Monsanto into food and shrinking the brain/pituitary into no imagination and no synapses of common sense, move along to the thyroid and got hyper or hypo and lots of GENDER BENT "Homo-Sexual" (in a word, BENT), worth repeating? Doubtful, shrunken head via cannibalism neo-liberal modern!

  2. GENDER BENT "Homo-Sexual" (in a word, BENT), worth repeating? Doubtful! Spooks and real education is like mixing Monsanto into food and shrinking the brain/pituitary into no imagination and no synapses of common sense, move along to the thyroid and got hyper or hypo and lots of shrunken head via cannibalism neo-liberal modern!