Friday, November 21, 2008

The 63 Questions

The 63 Questions the Obama Administration Must Answer | Background Check News
Apparently, does not offer the famous 63-question questionnaire for download. Instead, you have to submit a statement of interest in a job with the Obama administration. Once they're interested in you, they'll ask you to answer the 63 questions.

You can see the questionnaire in the form of a scanned PDF at various places, or read the thing in text form at the Crimcheck website. Thanks for that, Crimcheck. Classy of you to host your own copy of the PDF and, especially, to transcribe the questionnaire into text.
[Update: I put the text here.]

Right wingers seem to be looking at this extensive questionnaire as an example of Obama hypocrisy, noting, for instance, that much of the questionnaire was off limits regarding Mr. Obama himself during the campaign. I don't know about that and I doubt if it is true, but I don't care because it is irrelevant.

I guess the purpose for such an extensive questionnaire is to try to avoid the avoidable during the confirmation process, which is probably a good thing to try to do. Zoe Baird might have been confirmed (or she might have been disqualified, thereby avoiding the whole issue) if her employment of domestic servants had been known about as a potential issue up front, and dealt with appropriately. Giuliani's buddy, the one who wanted to be boss of homeland security, is another example where an extensive questionnaire might have come in handy.

I don't see anything wrong with the questionnaire, except that it might deter some good applicants from applying for lesser posts (applicants for posts requiring confirmation already know they're in for a wringer). It's like one of those forms you fill out for a security clearance, only on steroids.

Most of the questions would be easy for me to answer simply because I'm a nobody who keeps his meager financial affairs simple. I'd be uncertain about some answers, such as whether the guys I hired to trim my palm trees were legally eligible to work in the U.S. at the time. Hell, I don't know!

Question 59 is, well, questionable.
59. Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also describe how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any person injuries or property damage.
The question sticks out like a lion in Alaska, and its inclusion in the questionnaire indicates a lapse of judgment on the part of the transition team (though it may be in keeping with the general temperament there).

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