No. 833



As I thought about what I wanted to share with you today, I felt like the mosquito that flew over a fence and unexpectedly found himself right in the middle of a nudist colony … I don’t know where to begin. This is because the topic is so broad and expansive that it would take volumes, and not just a single column, to do it justice.
For lack of a better title, I want to talk about The Evils of Cronyism. If you are not familiar with the word cronyism, it means partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications. Hence, cronyism is contrary in practice and principle to meritocracy. Cronyism exists where the appointer and the beneficiary are in social contact; often, the appointer is inadequate to hold his or her own job or position of authority and for this reason the appointer appoints individuals who will not try to weaken him or her, or express views contrary to those of the appointer. Politically, “cronyism” is derogatorily used.
Now, what I have just shared came right out of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. At this point, let’s look at some examples of cronyism that are taking place as this is one of the many reasons our Congress has approval ratings that have fallen to single digits in the eyes of the American people. I might add that cronyism is not just in government circles but also takes place in the private sector. However, it is far more egregious in the public sector because most often it involves our tax money. The economic and social costs of cronyism are paid by society, which means all of us, and that includes you and me.
Before I share some examples of cronyism from the public sector, it should be noted that this is not a partisan issue, as Democrats and Republicans alike are guilty. Going back a ways in history, here is one for the books. The Warren Harding administration has become a schoolbook case of cronyism. Harding appointed his old college friends as members of his cabinet, resulting in several scandals. The term “Harding Cabinet” has become synonymous for rotten and corrupt administration. Another example is when former U.S. President George W. Bush was accused of cronyism after the nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court. Miers had no previous judicial experience and demonstrated little knowledge of constitutional law, and her selection was soundly rejected by many conservatives and liberals.
Another more recent example is a private park in New York City that the Wall Street protestors were “occupying” that is not owned by the city. Zucotti Park is owned by Brookfield Properties, which recently hired Vice President Joe Biden’s son as an attorney and Mayor Bloomberg’s live-in girlfriend sits on the board. Both are getting paid big money. Here is the link that makes it cronyism. Brookfield Properties received some of the last of the Obama Stimulus money, which is our tax money, pure and simple.
When you think about the thousands and thousands of lobbyists in our nation’s capital who become “cronies” with members of Congress, the insider deals they make, and what it is costing the American taxpayer, you can see the evil of it. To have good government, we must have transparency, often promised but seldom received. As voters, we must hold all those elected to office to a higher standard. “We The People” must take our nation back and vote people out of office when they are guilty of “cronyism,” as this will send a powerful message. It has always been true: “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.”
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)