Tom Nichols, a conservative professor at the Naval War College in Rhode Island, has written a damning indictment of President Donald Trump's reported decision to appoint unqualified political operatives such as Stephen Moore and Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve.
Writing in The Atlantic, Nichols argues that Moore and Cain represent something "far worse" than the typical kinds of hacks and cronies that presidents of both parties have traditionally appointed to government positions.
"Donald Trump’s administration, however, has transcended cronyism and declared a war on expertise, in which unbiased knowledge is itself somehow politically suspect if it does not accord with President Trump’s beliefs and assertions—and especially if it conflicts with his personal interests," he writes. "In this administration, complicated issues are not problems to be solved or tasks to be administered for the public good, but threats to be hammered down by alert sycophants."
The precedents for this kind of behavior, Nichols says, should be very troubling to any Americans who value democracy.
"We are now experiencing the kind of politicization of senior positions normally only seen in authoritarian states, where appointments are kept within tight circles of people whose commitment (or family connection) to the leader is more important than experience or knowledge," he writes. "Trump’s appointments are more and more obvious attempts to capture the machinery of government not for partisan interest, conservative ideas, or even the passing interest of some beloved donors, but purely for the sake of Donald J. Trump."