As if anything more needs be said about the distorted ways of Washington, consider this:

In an effort to trim his agency's budget, Roger Johnson, head of the General Services Administration, drew up a list of construction projects that appeared either too large or unnecessary. Among them were new courthouses for Phoenix and Charleston, W.Va. Johnson sought to delay one and kill the other.When Sens. Dennis DeConcini of Arizona and Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia got wind of the cutbacks, they rang up the White House. DeConcini heads an appropriations subcommittee that controls the White House budget and Byrd is the immensely powerful chairman of the full Senate Appropriations Committee.

Johnson, a former business executive, received a talking to from senior White House adviser George Stephanopolous, who, understandably, explained the difference between what makes economic sense and what makes political sense.

The two courthouses will proceed as planned.

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Thanks anyway for trying, Mr. Johnson.

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