Ex-Bush Loyalists Cash In

In May, the U.S. economy lost
345,000 nonfarm jobs, pushing the unemployment rate from 8.9% to 9.4%.
According to official statistics, 14.5 million Americans are now
looking for work and, as a recent headline
at Time.com put it, "The jobs aren't coming back anytime soon." In
fact, a team of economists at the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank
recently reported
that "the level of labor market slack could be higher by the end of
2009 than at any other time in the post-World War Two period."

The news, however, is not altogether grim. While times are
especially tough for teenagers (22.7% jobless rate) and blacks (14.9%
jobless rate), one group is doing remarkably well. I'm talking about
former members of the Bush administration who are taking up prestigious
academic posts, inking lucrative book deals, signing up with speakers
bureaus, joining big-time law firms and top public relations agencies,
and grabbing spots on corporate boards of directors. While their
high-priced wars, ruinous economic policies, and shredding of economic
safety nets have proved disastrous for so many, for them the economic
outlook remains bright and jobs are seemingly plentiful. In fact, many
of them have performed the eye-opening feat of securing two or more
potentially lucrative revenue streams at once during these tough
financial times.

While it would likely take a small book to catalogue the fates of all former "loyal Bushies," a look at just a few of these fortunate folks indicates that not everybody was harmed by the Bush era.

The Memoirists

Many of the top figures of the Bush years are joining the ranks of (or
reaffirming their credentials as) men and women of letters. Following
in the footsteps of 2003-2006 White House Press Secretary Scott
McClellan, who wrote the tell-some expose, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception, is former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
(2001-2006). Now penning his life story for Sentinel, a conservative
imprint of the Penguin Group, he has announced that he is forgoing an
advance and donating all proceeds to charity. Similarly, 2006-2009
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is reportedly donating
the "author's profits" from his forthcoming "insider's account of [his]
experiences as Treasury Secretary." Many other former colleagues are,
however, apparently intent on cashing in on their public service.

Last month, the New York Timesreported
that Rumsfeld's long-time pal, former Vice President Dick Cheney, "is
actively shopping a memoir about his life in politics and service in
four presidential administrations" and seeking multi-millions. In the
same way, back in 2007, Bush's right-hand man Karl Rove, aka his
"brain," agreed,
for a reported seven figures, to write a memoir for Simon &
Schuster's conservative imprint Threshold. Earlier this year, Bush's
first term National Security Advisor and second term Secretary of
State, Condoleezza Rice, signed a gaudy three-book deal, reportedly worth at least $2.5 million, with Random House's Crown imprint.

Following her to Crown (also the publisher of Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope) was former President Bush himself. His book, tentatively titled Decision Points, will reportedly recount
"a dozen of the most interesting and important decisions in the former
President's personal and political life" for a cool $7 million. Former
First Lady Laura Bush has already inked a book deal with Scribner reportedly worth $3.5-5 million.

Only one prominent Bush loyalist who cared to try appears to have been unable to cash-in. In late 2008, the Wall Street Journal's Evan Perez reported
that Alberto Gonzales, former White House counsel (2001-2005) and
attorney general (2005-2007), "said he is writing a book to set the
record straight about his controversial tenure as a senior official in
the Bush administration," but could interest no publisher in the
manuscript. This followed an earlier report in the New York Times that Gonzales had been "unable to interest law firms in adding his name to their roster..."

Law and Orders

One Bush administration lawyer who did land a job with a law firm was
Gonzales's successor, Attorney General Michael Mukasey (2007-2009), who
a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, a firm "offering sophisticated
legal services" which "places the highest value on collaboration and
interdisciplinary cooperation in order to provide clients with seamless
representation across practice areas and across continents."

Tommy Thompson, Bush's Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001-2005, is now a partner
with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld where he "focuses on
developing solutions for clients in the health care industry, as well
as for companies doing business in the public sector." Michael
Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security from 2005-2009, is serving
as "senior of counsel," and a "member of the White Collar Defense and
Investigations practice group" at the firm of Covington & Burling.

Meanwhile, Harriet Miers, who served Bush from 2001-2007 as Staff
Secretary, Deputy Chief of Staff, and Counsel to the President -- and
whose Supreme Court bid crashed and burned in 2005 -- returned to
Locke, Lord, Bissell & Liddell in May 2007 to serve
as a member of the law firm's "Litigation and Public Policy sections."
That firm is also home to Karin Torgerson, a partner who served as Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, one of several White House positions she held from 2003-2005.

Speak Easy

In addition to his book-writing duties, former President Bush recently signed on
with the Washington Speakers Bureau, which already represents his wife.
The Bureau is to arrange lucrative speeches for him worldwide. In fact,
just last month, the New York Timesreported
that the former president had "earned more than an estimated $150,000"
to "discuss national and international policy" alongside fellow former
President Bill Clinton at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.

the Bushes joined a speakers' roster of former administration
heavyweights, including Richard Armitage (Deputy Secretary of State,
2001-2005), John Bolton (U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations,
2005-2006), Andrew Card (White House Chief of Staff, 2001-2006), Ari
Fleischer (White House Press Secretary, 2001-2003), Michael Mukasey,
Colin Powell (Secretary of State, 2001-2005), Condoleezza Rice, Tom
Ridge (Secretary of Homeland Security, 2003-2005), Donald Rumsfeld, and
John Snow (Secretary of the Treasury, 2003-2006), as well as Bush
family consigliere James Baker III.

Meanwhile, at Leading Authorities, another top-of-the-line speakers
bureau, the list of ex-Bush loyalists includes Dan Bartlett (Counselor
to the President, 2002-2007), Christopher Cox (Chairman of the
Securities and Exchange Commission, 2005-2009), Ed Gillespie (Counselor
to the President, 2007-2009), Porter Goss (Director of the Central
Intelligence Agency, 2005-2006), Stephen Hadley (National Security
Advisor, 2005-2009), Michael Hayden (Director of the Central
Intelligence Agency, 2006-2009), Keith Hennessey (Director of the
National Economic Council, 2007-2009), Dana Perino (White House Press
Secretary, 2007-2009), and Margaret Spellings (Secretary of Education,

A third lecturers' stable, the Leigh Bureau, boasts John Negroponte who
served Bush as Ambassador to the United Nations, Ambassador to Iraq,
Director of National Intelligence, and Deputy Secretary of State.

Talking Heads and Lobbyists

Some Bush loyalists have nabbed other sorts of speaking gigs. Karl Rove, for one, took a job as an analyst for Fox News. (He also writes a weekly op-ed for the Wall Street Journal and, in 2007, signed a two-year deal to be a columnist for Newsweek magazine.)

Ari Fleischer was hired as a media consultant to the Green Bay Packers in 2008 and serves as the president of Ari Fleischer Communications, Inc.,
which bills itself as a "unique media training and consultancy company
[that] brings to the world of sports the lessons of how to successfully
handle the toughest situations with the most aggressive reporters."
(Clients reportedly include Major League Baseball, the Sporting Goods
Manufacturers Association, and "several other leading sports figures.")

Many more Bush loyalists, however, are involved in another lucrative
form of communication. For example, Michael Chertoff quickly launched
the Chertoff Group, a consulting firm that "will advise clients on a
range of security concerns, including cyber security, terrorism, fraud,
border protection and supply-chain security." Tom Ridge, when not
serving as a keynote-speaker-for-hire (as he did recently at the 2009
CoBank Energy Directors Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado) is
now a security and crisis-management consultant for his own firm, Ridge Global,
whose self-professed "expertise encompasses risk management and global
trade security, leadership guidance and strategic business generation,
event security, crisis management and communications, campus security,
technology innovation and integration and more."

In fact, a recent analysis by USA TODAY
found that "more than one in four members of President George W. Bush's
Cabinet have landed jobs with consulting or lobbying firms in which
they can help clients navigate the departments they once oversaw." And
it's not just heads of executive departments like Homeland Security who
are cashing in.

John Ashcroft (Attorney General, 2001-2005) co-founded the Ashcroft Group,
a strategic consulting firm that advises and invests "in companies in
the security and law enforcement marketplaces." Not surprisingly, the
firm has become a home for Bush loyalists like Juleanna Glover, who
served on the senior staffs of then President-elect George W. Bush and
Vice President Dick Cheney, and was then "the registered U.S.
government affairs advisor for Iraq's first post-Saddam Hussein
ambassador to the United States."

Recently, according to the Quad City Times,
Jim Nussle, Bush's director of the White House Office of Management and
Budget (2007-2009) "formed a company that will offer consulting,
government relations and lobbying services." The Nussle Group,
its website proclaims, "specializes in recruiting a talented team and
developing creative solutions to assist clients in navigating the
complicated and challenging intersections of public policy, government
relations, public relations, international relations and politics."

According to his company bio,
the senior policy director at lobbying powerhouse Dutko Worldwide, Gene
Hickok, "joined the George W. Bush Administration as Under Secretary of
Education. He became Deputy Secretary in 2003 [and] was an architect of
the No Child Left Behind Act." And he isn't alone. Kent Sholars, a
Senior Associate at Dutko, "was a political appointee during both terms
of the administration of George W. Bush, serving as the Confidential
Assistant to the Controller for the White House Office of Management
and Budget (OMB) in Washington, DC," while Karen Yeager, a Dutko vice
president, "serve[d] in the White House for President Bush in 2001."


Karen Hughes helped George W. Bush get elected in 2000 and, for the
first two years of his first term, served him as a "counselor." In
2002, she left the White House to spend more time with her family in
Texas. In 2004, however, she was back at work on Bush's campaign and
then, in 2005, signed on as an undersecretary of state. In 2007, she
left again, the White House said, "to spend more time with her family."
Nonetheless, in 2008, she was in an office yet again, this time as Global Vice Chair
at public relations giant Burson-Marsteller. In 2009, she was joined
there by former White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, who now serves as Chief Issues Counselor for the company in the U.S.

Here, too, Michael Chertoff has gotten into the act. The announcement of the formation of the Chertoff Group, wrote the Wall Street Journal, "was made by the communications firm Burson-Marsteller, which said it formed an alliance with Mr. Chertoff."

Board to Death

Bush Administration officials have also been popping up on various
boards of directors. Richard Armitage is perhaps typical. He sits on the board at military-corporate complex member ManTech International. He also serves on the boards of oil giant ConocoPhillips, "pharmaceutical and cosmeceutical" company Transcu Ltd., and his own firm, Armitage International, which, according to its website,
provides "multinational clients with critical support in the areas of
international business development, strategic planning, and

In April, chemical giant DuPont announced
that Samuel Bodman, Secretary of Energy from 2005-2009 (and before
that, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, 2004-2005, and Deputy Secretary
of the Department of Commerce, 2001-2004) had been elected to its board
of directors.

That same month, former CIA chief Michael Hayden became
a member of the Board of Directors of the National Interest Security
Company, an "information technology, information management, and
management technology consulting services" provider serving the U.S.
Intelligence Community and the Departments of Defense, Homeland
Security, and Energy. There, Hayden joined
fellow former administration cronies Henry A. Crumpton (Coordinator for
Counterterrorism at the State Department, 2005-2007) and Donald Kerr
(Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, 2007-2009).

Meanwhile, Andrew Card not only serves on the board of directors of railroad giant Union Pacific, but has also turned up on the board of directors of the George W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation.

In the Tank

If you can't get a gig at a law firm, a PR agency, or on a corporate
board of directors, there are always the nation's think-tanks to fall
back into -- and they've become a shelter for more than a few Bush
administration refugees in the Obama era. For example, after serving as
a Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security
Adviser in the Bush administration, Elliott Abrams has now joined the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) as senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies.

Alongside Abrams at CFR are a number of officials who served during the
Bush years, including Evan Feigenbaum, former Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State for India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and the
Maldives; Paul Lettow, former senior adviser to the Under Secretary of
State for Democracy and Global Affairs and the Senior Director for
Strategic Planning and Institutional Reform on the National Security
Council staff; and Dan Senor, an administration foreign policy advisor
and senior advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the conservative Heritage Foundation is not surprisingly housing a large contingent of Bush loyalists, including Becky Norton Dunlop,
who served as the chairperson of the Federal Services Impasse Panel
(which handles disputes between government agencies and labor unions); Kim R. Holmes,
Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs;
Terry Miller, ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social
Council; Peter Brookes, Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for Asian
and Pacific Affairs; and Mike Gonzalez who, in 2005, left the Wall Street Journal to join the Bush administration where, according to his Heritage Foundation bio,
he "wrote speeches for Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman
Christopher Cox, then moved to the State Department in 2006 as
communications adviser and speechwriter on European and Eurasian
affairs" and even "helped craft an op-ed column... which appeared
throughout Europe under the bylines of Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates."

Ivory Tower Power

While Gates stayed on to work for President Barack Obama, Rice is
pursuing many different career paths. In addition to the lucrative book
contracts and the speakers bureau gigs, she inked
a deal for the William Morris Agency to represent her for "business
initiatives in media, sports and communications." Rice also returned,
as a professor of political science, to her old stomping grounds
at Stanford University, where she had long taught and also, from
1993-1999, served as provost. Presumably in her spare time, she serves
as the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson Senior Fellow on Public Policy at
Stanford's conservative Hoover Institution.

Rice is actually following in the footsteps of Rumsfeld who served
a stint, beginning in 2007, as "a distinguished visiting fellow" at the
Hoover Institution. But Stanford is hardly the only academic bastion of
former Bush-ites. For example, this year, John Negroponte headed back
to his old alma mater, Yale University, to become the "Brady-Johnson
Distinguished Senior Research Fellow in Grand Strategy and Lecturer in
International Affairs at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for
International and Area Studies."

"Torture memo" author John Yoo, who served as Deputy Assistant Attorney
General in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice
from 2001-2003, is, of course, a professor of law at the School of Law of that bastion of leftist radicalism, the University of California at Berkeley. (As Liliana Segura of AlterNet recently reported, he also just landed a gig as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.)

Hope on the Horizon

Last year, for many Americans, Barack Obama became synonymous with hope. (And last year, Obama's The Audacity of Hope as well as his Dreams from My Father
earned him an eye-popping $2.4 million in royalties.) This year, for
struggling job-hunters nationwide, it's former Bush administration
officials who offer a glimmer of hope in tough economic times. Their
ease in finding gainful employment suggests that, even if your prior
work has been judged ruinous by many and been roundly repudiated,
there's still hope for you on the job front.

Even former Vice President Cheney, a man about whom 55% of Americans hold an unfavorable opinion,
has realistic prospects of receiving a multimillion dollar book deal.
After all, his former boss is viewed unfavorably by 57% of Americans
and look how he's done.

Since most jobless Americans don't have nearly the unfavorable polling
numbers of Bush or Cheney, nor do they face the distant threat of
possible war crimes prosecutions
like John Yoo, they should perk up. Maybe the problem is that none of
them have signed up with the right speakers bureau to discuss their
disastrous life circumstances. Maybe they haven't had that extra little
bit of help tweaking their book proposals for their proposed
tell-littles and tell-nones. Maybe they hadn't thought to check with
Burson-Marsteller, just in case a few top slots with grandiose titles
are still open. Maybe the Hoover Institution will now extend
distinguished visiting fellowships to a few of the residents of
modern-day Hoovervilles.

With only former Attorney General Gonzales still out of work, grant the
men and women of the Bush administration one thing: the best
unemployment rate in the land. In but a few short months, they've
managed to prove that, no matter how spectacularly you fail, those
inside-the-Beltway never have to tighten a belt. In our world, they
will always fail upwards -- generally in lucrative, prestigious, and
glamorous ways.

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