This Week’s BOW Award

April 5, 2008

I’ve tried to make my BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award entries amusing, as well as trenchant.  I’ve looked for acts of buffonery (yes, that’s a word) that were as entertaining as they were idiotic, and I’ve tried to keep these weekly posts at least somewhat lighthearted.

I had intended to do the same this week.  The conservative side of my local paper, the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, which has two editorial boards, one liberal and the other conservative, very nearly won this week’s competition this past Wednesday.  That day (or the day before) executives from the major oil companies appeared before Congress to justify their obscenely high profits AND huge federal tax breaks they receive at a time when Americans are paying record prices at the gas pumps.  So what does my paper do?  They run an editorial saying that the reason gas is so expensive has nothing to do with gas company profits.  Rather, it’s because — wait for it — Federal gas taxes are too high!  Yes, that 30 cent gas tax is the sole reason you’re paying over $3.00 a gallon.  Idiots.

But the Chattanooga Times-Free Press is not this week’s winner.  

And there’s nothing funny about this week’s award.

Leslie Hagen was a highly accomplished lawyer working in the Bush Administration’s Justice Department.  Her job evaluations were uniformly outstanding.  She was a stalwart supporter of the Republican party.  She had won awards for her work as a prosecutor, and had been called, by the U.S. Attorney who hired her, “the best qualified person in the nation.”  She was, in short, a model member of the Justice Department.

She was also rumored to be a lesbian.  And according to an NPR report that aired this week, for this reason and this reason alone, her contract with the Bush Administration was not renewed.   This occurred back in 2006-07, when the Justice Department was still under the leadership of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.  The Department was making hiring decisions based on perceived political loyalty and the willingness of lawyers to put partisanship above the law.  And, it seems, it was also making such decisions on the basis of sexual orientation.

Normally I don’t get too upset about Republicans firing other Republicans, just like Republicans probably aren’t too unhappy about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama bashing each other on the news every night.  It’s intramural, and I’m on a different team.  But this is different.  Gays and lesbians in our society face discrimination at every turn, in every venue, every day.  It’s a national tragedy.  But we’re talking about the United States government here.  We’re talking about the Justice Department for God’s sake!  Shameful.  Inexcusable.  Disgusting.  Choose your adjective.   For more on this episode, please visit one of my favorite political sites,

This week’s BOW Award goes to the Bush Administration, its Justice Department, Monica Goodling, and Alberto Gonzales.  Take a BOW guys.  You’ve earned it.  And then please, go away.


3 Responses to “This Week’s BOW Award”

  1. Frank said

    I read that editorial, too, and as I did, I thought.. I KNOW David is gonna have to mention this in his blog!

    One can’t help but notice that the (metaphorically and literally) Left side of the paper usually fits two, in-depth articles into the same space that the Right-Hand side uses to print a minimum of four separate entries. Some days they seem to have more space devoted to dumbed down, bumper-sticker headlines, than to stories with any “meat” to them.

    I hadn’t heard about the Hagen story, but I suppose The TFP can wait for their BOW

  2. davidbcoe said

    Yeah, Frank, as soon as I saw the editorial I knew I’d be writing about it. They say some stupid stuff in that paper, but sometimes they really outdo themselves. They went that extra mile with this one….

  3. Frank said


    How sad that now, a month later, Hillary Clinton seems to agree with the TFP!

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