Saturday, January 19, 2008

Damn Democrats

As a middle to upper level State government bureaucrat, I bob just below the political surface. A layer or two above me are the appointed positions that cycle through the agency at least as often as the election cycle. When the Republicans took the State House four years ago, I found a nice niche where I could keep my head down and survive fairly well. I remember joking that when the Democrats take power again, I'd be hanged as a collaborator.

Well they did take power again. I avoided the noose, but at times that seems like it would be preferable. You see the Republicans appointed some very nice, well meaning, (and well connected) people who did some good things, but generally did not have much if any experience in running a large agency. And there never seemed to be much of a sense of urgency to anything. The Republicans' famous disdain for government manifested itself not so much through any active destruction, as much as a sort of drifting neglect. The Democrats on the other hand, expect government to do a lot. A hell of a lot. Large, long term planning projects that has sort of dribbled along are now all of a sudden top priority. Sleepy bureaucrats (like me) that had dutifully checked in and out with a yawn are all of a sudden pulling evening and weekend duty trying to save the world, put a man on the moon by the end of the decade sorta thing.

Which is all fine. I voted for them, and that's what I want government to do. But for a guy like me that is a nine to fiver who expects to have a lot of energy left over for a wife, a band, a brass quintet, two dogs and an orchestra, it is quite a change of pace. The good news is that the current crop of appointees really do seem to know what they are doing, with a surfeit of experience and ideas. It will be a hell of a ride.