He goes on to point out that these reforms led to the rise of powerful civil service unions, which allied with Democrats, which set the stage for the current partisan wrangling. He notes, however, that there are potential pitfalls either way:
Both sides are seeking partisan advantage. Partisans on both sides will probably endlessly point out the hypocrisy and low motives of the other side. Nevertheless, I want to insist here that the motives of both parties are irrelevant. There are perfectly good high-minded arguments on both sides of this debate. If you relax the civil service rules, you might get more efficient management of the department. On the other hand, you might get less efficient management as current employees are replaced with totally unqualified patronage picks. You'd also get more of the overall corruption of the system that comes with patronage politics, but less of the corruption of the system that comes when powerful unions can support the election of candidates who use public funds to back the unions thereby essentially funneling the money back into their own reelection campaigns.
It'd be truly nice if proposals could be debated on their merits, without all the posturing. I just don't see that happening, and there are many factors, not the least of which is that soundbite journalism utterly precludes rational debate.