The people we pay

Rahm Emanuel asks what the White House is doing with two ethics advisors and directors of fact checking and lessons learned.

Published July 12, 2006 5:31PM (EDT)

We've always wondered why taxpayers pay -- and $162,500 a year, no less -- for a president to have a political advisor. As John Aravosis reports at AMERICAblog, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Rahm Emanuel has apparently checked out the new list of White House salaries and has some other questions to ponder:

"Why are we paying over $100,000 for a 'White House Director of Lessons Learned'? Maybe I can save the taxpayers $100,000 by running through a few of the lessons this White House should have learned by now.

"Lesson 1: When the Army Chief of Staff and the Secretary of State say you are going to war without enough troops, you're going to war without enough troops.

"Lesson 2: When $8.8 billion of reconstruction funding disappears from Iraq, and $2 billion disappears from Katrina relief, it's time to demand a little accountability.

"Lesson 3: When you've 'turned the corner' in Iraq more times than Danica Patrick at the Indy 500, it means you are going in circles.

"Lesson 4: When the national weather service tells you a Category 5 hurricane is heading for New Orleans, a Category 5 hurricane is heading to New Orleans.

"I would also ask the president why we're paying for two 'Ethics Advisors' and a 'Director of Fact Checking.' They must be the only people in Washington who get more vacation time than the president. Maybe the White House could consolidate these positions into a Director of Irony."

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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