Bush Hall of Shame: Elaine Chao

It is truly a monumental task to choose which of the criminals appointed by George W. Bush should be awarded the Worst Bush Appointment Ever. Of course, it almost certainly will wind up being Dick Cheney but there is still time for Cheney to do something positive…like undergoing a brain transplant or finding out where he misplaced his heart. There is a contender whose photo will one day be placed in the Bush Hall of Shame that will certainly be constructed somewhere, and who will be used as a cautionary tale on how not to run the Department of Labor, and who managed for the longest time to avoid the limelight as she watched such other denizens of depravity as Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales and Donald Rumsfeld try (still successfully, amazingly) to avoid jail time. While Elaine Chao may manage to avoid going down in history as quite the criminally incompetent boob that Donald Rumsfeld is, she can no longer hide in the crevices. Any other President would have fired her years ago, but not Bush. The only people he sees fit to fire are those who stand up to his puppetmasters in the oil industry like Christie Todd Whitman. Just exactly why is Elaine Chao the worst Secretary of Labor in American history?

Remember the Crandall Canyon mine disaster of a few years ago when six miners and three rescuers died after a collapsed? In the first place, Chao had record of a startling number of safety violations at the mine before the collapse and yet did nothing. She took absolutely no steps at all to make sure those violations were corrected and the result is blood on her hands. But hey, why stop there? Once the mine did collapse, Elaine Chao took every step possible…to make sure Congress never fully got an answer as to what happened and why. Like every other single criminal in the Bush Cabinet she chose to block all attempts by Congress to legally get their hands on documentation. There is a reason why the Bush administration first forces Congress to issue a subpoena, and then violates that subpoena by abusing Executive Privilege. Because those documents reveal their incompetence. In Chao’s case, like Rumsfeld and Gonzales, incompetence that proved fatal.

Sec. of Labor Elaine Chao has also steadfastly stood in the way of protecting American workers from exposure to dangerous chemicals. A chemical called Diacetyl which adds flavor to food has been discovered to have a link to a disease commonly termed popcorn lung. It would not take much to reduce exposure to this chemical, but Elaine Chao refused to respond to repeated and urgent demands by health officials and labor unions to do nothing more radical than create a legal standard for exposure. Instead, your Secretary of Labor made the decision to allow your friends, family and neighbors to be exposed to a potentially fatal disease. One day there will be an enormous lawsuit over this decision and Elaine Chao will also cost you money. Of course, it has been estimated that so far the Iraq war alone has cost each and every household $16,000, so you probably won’t even miss it.

If merely doing her job incompetently isn’t enough to boil your nuggets, then consider how Elaine Chao has followed in the footsteps of other Bush appointees, including his appointments to the Supreme Court by the way, in using the spoils of her power to make life better for Republican politicians. Well, she at least tried to make life better for mentally-challenged Republican politicians. Remember good old Rick Santorum, former Senator from Pennsylvania who tried to stave off certain defeat in the 2006 overhaul of democracy in America by insisting that he had evidence that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq, after all? Amazingly, thousands of voters in Pennsylvania believed him. Even more amazingly, thousands of people who didn’t even live in Pennsylvania believed him. Well, once it was clear that the delusional Rick Santorum was going to get his butt kicked unless someone really could produce evidence of the existence of WMDs in Iraq, Elaine Chao used her position as Sec. of Labor to do all she could to help him win. Not just Santorum but all those other beleaguered Republican politicians who had made the fatal error, like John McCain, of mortgaging their political fortunes onto the backside of George W. Bush. In those states and cities where Republican politicians like Santorum were in the biggest danger of losing their seats to Democrats, it just so happened that Elaine Chao, along with countless other criminals appointed by Bush, showed up with a heaping helping of big fat government contracts guaranteed to bring money and jobs to the very same areas where the obliviousness of Bush’s inability create jobs the past six years had left them in such desperate economic straits that…GOP politicians who’d hitched their wagon to Bush’s butt were booted unceremoniously off the stage and told to never shown their face in public again.

Ah, if only the American people had the power to cast votes of confidence for those members of the Cabinet who are guiding our destiny. Then Elaine could have joined Donnie R. and Alberto G. and all the rest of the Bush Butt Buddy Brigade who have somehow managed to actually be the worst person to ever hold their respective office.