Although the Bush administration insisted that Ms. Sauerbrey was well qualified for the position, her resume was appallingly slender. She twice ran as the Republican nominee for Maryland Governor, loosing both times. She served as a representative in the Maryland legislature from 1978 to 1994. In 2000, she was the chairperson for the Maryland for Bush Campaign. Her only experience in federal government is having served as the U.S. representative on a United Nations committee on women 's issues.
Julia V. Taft held this position from 1997 to 2002. Prior to her appointment, she was the President and CEO of InterAction, a coalition of 156 U.S.-based voluntary organizations that works on refugee assistance and humanitarian relief throughout the world. Prior to this, she was Director of the U.S. Interagency Task Force for Indochina Refugees. Ms. Taft also served for three years as the Director of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance at the Agency for International Development, where she managed all U.S. relief responses to foreign disasters. It 's worth noting that although Ms. Taft was a prominent Republican, President Clinton nominated her because of her overwhelming qualifications.
From 1994 to 1997 Phyllis Elliott Oakley served as Assistant Secretary of State for PRM. She was a career State Department official, having served for 20 years. She had previously served as Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau for Refugee Programs, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. She was also second-in-command at the U.S. AID Afghanistan Cross-Border Humanitarian Assistance Program.
Why did Mr. Bush nominate Ellen Sauerbrey? In part, it 's because of the president 's misguided loyalty. But the main reason is that, not coincidentally, the Assistant Secretary of State for PRM is also responsible for overseeing international family planning policy. And Ms. Sauerbrey has been an outspoken conservative critic of abortion, sex education, and women 's rights.
At an international women 's conference last year she was booed during a speech in which she said, " ...we [the United States] do not recognize abortion as a method of family planning, nor do we support abortion in our reproductive health assistance. " She was also heckled when she stated, "We emphasize ...the promotion of abstinence as the healthiest and most responsible choice for adolescents. "
In an open letter she wrote to United Families International, a right-wing organization "devoted to maintaining and strengthening the family " by opposing gay marriage and civil unions, she expressed ultra-conservative viewpoints. She lamented that the "prevailing vision at the U.N. is ...that ...family [is] whatever you want it to be sexual freedom - anything goes. " And she explained that while serving in the Maryland legislature "What I learned very clearly was that every social ill that we were dealing with stemmed from children who were the product of broken homes: drug addictions, school dropout, alcoholism, teenage suicide, teenage pregnancy. "
The president has the right, of course, to nominate any conservative of his choosing to any vacancy. But he should not nominate someone based purely on the fact that they are conservative. A nominee must be the most qualified person for the job at hand. As we saw with the FEMA debacle in New Orleans, the consequences can be devastating. After the deplorable performance of FEMA Director Michael Brown, nicknamed "Brownie " by President Bush, the nation learned that Brown had no experience in disaster management. Instead, he had spent the decade prior to his tenure at FEMA as a judge for Arabian horse competitions. By all appearances, Ms. Sauerbrey is another Brownie in the making.