On Monday, the Current Occupant announced a new executive department: the White House Office of American Innovation, to be headed by his 36-year-old son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Like #45, young Master Kushner has never served in government or the military or worked for anyone other than his father – as a Chicago Tribune op-ed put it, “his entire experience in public administration can be counted on two calendar pages” – but he does possess the singular advantage of sharing a bedroom with the boss’s daughter. Plus, you know, that Russian business.
The Washington Post report reveals that the Son-in-Law-in-Chief has memorized some key phrases from the CorpSpeak lexicon:
“We should have excellence in government,” Kushner said Sunday in an interview in his West Wing office. “The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.”
(Digression: “The citizens” are not, in fact, government’s “customers.” Citizens are more like government’s shareholders. You could even say we’re the bosses. And there is little empirical evidence that even “great American companies” are necessarily efficient; often they’re ridiculously wasteful. End of digression.)
What most piqued my interest in the Kushner story were the comparisons of the WHO-AI to “a SWAT team of internal consultants.” Why that particular acronym, I wondered?
SWAT unit in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2014. Photo by Jonathan Wiggs via Boston Globe.