John McCaslin

Barely a week goes by that the word "bureaucrat" doesn't appear in The Beltway Beat - given that we write regularly about bureaucrats and all that they accomplish for this great democracy of ours.

Now we are politely encouraged to refrain from repeating the word.

"We need to talk about government workers differently," advises the latest report from the Partnership for Public Service. "Using the word 'bureaucrat' has a devastatingly negative impact."

How so?

"The word 'bureaucrat' is used frequently by politicians, the media and others as if it were a neutral descriptor, when in fact it carries very strong editorial freight," the report states.

An accompanying study finds that 71 percent of Americans view federal government workers favorably, but that number drops a whopping 50-plus percentage points to a dismal 20 percent when those same people are referred to as "federal government bureaucrats."

Public servants rest assured: Regardless of how you've been labeled in the past, Americans have an overwhelming sense of the value of your service.

No less than 91 percent of respondents say that the jobs and duties of federal workers are important to their daily lives, and these favorable views cut evenly across both partisan and ideological lines.


It's no secret that, as a collective body, members of Congress have been threatened with extermination by al-Qaida terrorists.

Still, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is questioning security precautions undertaken by 72-year-old Sen. Jim Bunning, Kentucky Republican, a baseball Hall of Famer who became the first pitcher to record 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in both leagues.

The DSCC is disseminating local newspaper articles expressing surprise that Bunning, in his campaign for re-election, is actually "shunning" media attention, not even telling reporters in advance when he will visit a Kentucky community. Upon arrival, he supposedly makes certain that adequate security is in place, whether provided by state or local police officers.

Recently, for example, the senator received police escorts while in Danville and Lexington, while the Paducah Sun reported that its police force was on hand to guard against "al-Qaida or other terrorist attacks."

But one story being peddled by the DSCC in Washington, published in the Lexington Herald-Leader, questions whether Bunning is using the security to avoid "vocal Democrats" gathered on the campaign sidelines.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive delivered each morning to your inbox.