the Incompetence, Stupid!
June 4, 2002
By Caroline Spector
Back in the halcyon days of the early 1990s – before our
Lives Were Changed Forever – a brash young Democrat went up
against a sitting president who had recently won a “war” in
the Middle East. Though flush with his victory and riding
high poll numbers – the president had mismanaged things so
badly at home that the young contender had a foothold to climb
into the most powerful office in the land.
During Bill Clinton’s campaign against Poppy Bush, there
was one thing that his campaign managers kept hammering away
on: The moribund US economy. The “It’s the Economy, stupid”
slogan was born and written in large letters in the campaign
It’s time for a new slogan.
Personally, I think “It’s the Stupidity, stupid” has a nice
alliterative ring to it, but since that might sound like too
much of an ad hominem attack on the person currently
occupying the White House, perhaps we should go with “It’s
the Incompetence, stupid.”
After all, even the spokespeople for this administration
keep telling us, there isn’t anything they can do.
Which, you have to admit, is a pretty amazing statement coming
from the group who promoted themselves as “the adults,” as
in, “The adults are back in charge.” This really begs the
question, “In charge of what?”
As more and more revelations regarding information about
the events leading up to September 11 in the possession of
the various intelligence agencies and top administration officials
comes to light, the Bush regime has trotted out a wide variety
of excuses and “explanations” for why all these hints were
missed, and as each one of the excuses were shown to be nonsensical,
they’ve fallen back on the, “I dunno, boss” sword.
In short, “We screwed up, but anyone else would have done
Except that is utter nonsense.
In fact, numerous terrorist attacks were planned during the
Clinton administration, especially plans for attacks during
the 2000 millennium celebrations. These were all stopped.
Though there were terrorist attacks on American property
around the world during the Clinton administration, and even
a bombing of the WTC in 1993, on the whole, the losses on
American soil were relatively minor. The losses at the American
embassies in Africa in 1998 were another story. Of course,
when Bill Clinton tried to go after terrorists at that time,
he was accused of using this as a distraction from the Paula
Jones matter and got no support from Congressional Republicans.
Now the Bush administration would have you believe that there
are looming terrorist attacks about which they can do nothing.
This is an astounding statement.
This group of “adults” are saying they are too incompetent
to do anything about terrorist violence to our people on our
Color me amazed.
And in their latest act of stunning incompetence, the Bush
administration has finally admitted that, yes, indeed, there
is global warming. But hey, they can’t do a thing about it,
so we must “adapt.”
How pray tell do they suggest we do such a thing. Drink more
ice tea? Turn up our air conditioners?
Is there anything resembling leadership from this cabal?
Do they acknowledge that gutting emission standards by classifying
SUVs as trucks for the first ten years of their manufacture
has wreaked havoc on the ozone layer? Do they suggest that
maybe crappy fuel standards have added to the carbon dioxide
Do they suggest that they should lead a national charge to
change from our fossil fuel dependency to more clean and renewable
sources? Do they encourage Americans to tackle this new threat
to life on the planet by having a vision of the future that
is more ecologically friendly? Do they challenge corporations
to help in this effort?
They can’t do a thing.
Part of the mantra for George Bush’s campaign was that though
the candidate himself was woefully inadequate in matters such
as foreign affairs, economics, and, well, much of anything,
his “managerial” style was to delegate and therefore he would
be bringing aboard the very best minds to do the heavy lifting
for him. (Apparently, these were mostly to be relics from
Poppy’s regime, The Gang That Couldn’t Iran/Contra Straight
with a few fundamentalist Christians thrown in for good measure.)
And yet, these supposedly grown-up and bright appointees
managed to miss the terrorist ball completely.
Actually, what's at play here is really pretty simple. As
most of us who’ve held jobs in the real world know, any workplace
reflects the values and attitudes of its boss.
In other words, the fish rots from the head down.
The incompetence of this administration should be the mantra
of every committed Democrat. The Bush administrations repeated
claims that they can’t do anything about terrorism, that they
can’t do anything about global warming reveals a mindset of
incompetence. If you believe there’s nothing you can do, you
usually prove yourself right.
The incompetence this sort of rhetorical garbage reveals
must be pounded home as often as possible. We don’t pay taxes
to be told that there’s nothing the administration can do.
We don’t give the lives of our men and women so that the Bush
administration can be derelict in its duty to the citizens
of this country, security being but one its obligations. We
should expect leadership.
And we sure as hell need to point out that though they may
claim the adults are in charge, the leader of this pact is
an overgrown teenager who acts as if he’s been given and exceptionally
annoying chore to do.
And the result has been nothing but incompetence.
Caroline Spector is a writer living in Austin, TX (where you
can't swing a dead cat without hitting far too many other
writers). She is a yellow-dog Democrat, thank you very much.