The next sound you hear will be the noise that VIP heads makes as they roll down government hallways.
President Carter's upcoming "new-directions" policy on energy will hasten the return of hundreds of upper and mid-level political appointees to their home towns. Survivors will be shifted from many programs and learned to love, into something equivalent to a holy war against the gas crunch. Maximum federal efforts will be used to erase the "what, me worry?" image Carger has with many voters.
"We'er going to a war footing," said a career veteran of other wars, against waste, corruption, proverty and war itself. "A lot of people who looked good to the president when he boughtt them to town won't be able to perform in the trenches. He is going to shift gears faster than some of his people will be able to stand, or understand."
The new energy driven will compound problems that began serveral months ago for some political appointees. There has been a shift in administration goals, with belt-tightening and austerity -- real for public relations purposes -- surprising and irritating some White House-anointed VIPS. The crunch has been particularly tough at HUD and HEW, where programs that once stood high on the White House list have lost their luster.
Now, with energy-action the watchword, even more pet projects of political appointees and various pressure groups will go down the tubes, or be put on hold.
Even such things as a beefed-up Southeast Asia refugee program in the works at HEW may lose some of its oomph and suport from the White House. Key black leaders are complaining about plans to take in and subsidize Vietnamese that neighboring countries refuse to help at a time when inflation and unemployment -- linked to energy -- are at the national emergency stage.
Insiders expect new programs, new task forces and new emphasis, including heavy press release activity will be ordered to let the public know that Jimmy Carter is in charge and doing something.
"Some departments have been running press operations that are actually ego-extentions of the Secretary," a PR veteran said. "We're getting the work that the president's name should go high-up in the release, and that we should show, often, that he is moving to solve the energy problem."
Veteran bureaucrats predict the upcoming shffler could match the surprise former President Nixon dropped on his mid-level government team after he won reelection. People were called in, thanked for doing a good job for the nation and for Nixon, and then were asked for their resignations.
"President are, above all else, politicians who are looking toward reelection and their place in history," a 28-year bureaucrat. "If you can't help get them on the cover of a magazine, reelected or with a nice writeup in the history books," he said, "you are likely to get a handshake and a don't call us, we'll call you letter of appreciation."