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Parker’s firing leaves both sides scrambling

We do not know all the circumstances behind the quick departureof Mike Parker from his position as Assistant Secretary of the Armylast week, but a 30-minute decision for him to either resign or befired seems like things are a bit amiss in Washington.

Well, a lot of things are amiss in Washington, but for the BushAdministration to summarily dump the former congressman because ofcomments he made during a budget hearing before the Senate budgetcommittee bears question.

According to reports, during questioning at a recent Senatehearing, Parker made comments that showed his disagreement andfrustration with proposed Bush administration funding cuts in theCorps of Engineers’ water projects — two of which are here inMississippi.

The Bush administration did not like the dissenting comments andapparently wanted retribution to be sure everyone else got themessage. That is the administration’s right as any employer, but. ..

While loyalty is the name of the game in Washington, especiallyfor a political appointee, feeling free to express one’s opinion isalso important to the public good and the administration’s abilityto effectively govern. One would imagine that Parker’s forcedresignation has sent shudders up and down all levels of the BushAdministration. Thursday’s action sent a clear message; it alsoopened the door for political bickering.

Granted, there is a definite difference between being acongressman and serving in an appointed position, and it’s one withwhich the outspoken Parker apparently had a problem. Bush has theright to expect loyalty of his appointees — but to give Parker a30-minute ultimatum! Wow, good thing the guillotine is no longer inuse!

The whole situation has the appearance of a knee-jerk reaction,which has Democrats crying foul and the Bush administration havingto spend energy covering its back side at a time when it has betterthings to do.