It's 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 war room.

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 the same.”

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 own soil.

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 levels?

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.