This article tries to argue against the concern over "burrowing," the term of art for Bush's political appointees digging their way into the federal bureaucracy as permanent civil servants:
Senate Democrats called for a halt to the practice. Bloggers such as Matthew Yglesias (semi-seriously) suggested that "we'll have the top layer of the civil service filled with industry shills," while those at TPMMuckraker vowed to "see what we can find out." Their concern is that civil-service protections, ostensibly designed to insulate the bureaucracy from political influence, will instead safeguard the political appointees of a deeply unpopular lame-duck administration.
It's a valid concern—but in this case, it's misplaced. It's a valid concern—but in this case, it's misplaced. President-elect Barack Obama will find it easier to replace the Oval Office draperies than to replace officials who supposedly work for him. What the executive branch needs is more patronage, not less.
The article goes on to give an brief but interesting and informed history of the civil service, the Pendleton act which created it, and how it has become such a stubborn institution. Along the way, there is the obligatory Slate-ish contrarian point that the calcified civil service is the problem, rather than feckless, ideological political appointees. "In Praise of Patronage," as it's summed up in the article's title. But this misses point of the criticism of burrowing entirely. Sure, Obama's "change" would be more easily accomplished if more of the civil service was open to his political appointees, i.e. if he had more "patronage" at his disposal. But that doesn't mean patronage is a good idea. Not is it relevant to the very real problem of Bush's political barnacles sealing themselves into the civil service -- precisely because of the civil service history outlined in the article. After all, you can't make a case against the crusty civil service and not worry about the layer of crust Bush left behind.