Skip to comments.The pernicious myth of Obama’s “incompetence”
Posted on 10/30/2013 1:03:36 PM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Excuse me if I sit out this round of hyperventilating over President Obamas alleged incompetence on matters ranging from the Affordable Care Act rollout to the NSA spying scandal. Because we just played this game last spring.
Five months ago cable news and the Web were aflame with charges that the Obama White House had reached either a new level of tyranny or ineptitude after supposed new revelations about Benghazi, the IRS non-scandal and the administrations spying on journalists. In fact, the heavy-handed investigation of leaks targeting journalists in creepy new ways was the only story that merited serious coverage (and of course it faded more quickly than the other two). Likewise, the revelations that the NSA is listening in on the cellphone calls of our allies, and reports that Obama didnt know about it, is the story that really matters. But weve got wall-to-wall coverage of hearings on the ACA, with the NSA stuff thrown in to make all of the Has Obama lost control of government? (an actual chyron on CNN yesterday) hyperventilating more defensible.
So Richard Cohen hysterically declares the latest mess a question of competence (Obamas, of course). If that sounds familiar, its because the National Journals Josh Krashaar wrote about Obamas crisis of competence in the wake of the Benghazi/IRS/reporter-spying scandals. Declaring the president incompetent may be a new symptom of false equivalence and journalistic balance OK, the right says Obama is evil (and a Kenyan Muslim usurper ineligible to be president), and we wont go that far. The left says hes being sabotaged by an extremist Republican Party that wont accept his legitimacy; well, thats a little shrill. Lets find something in the middle; how about incompetent?
Over at CBS, conservative favorite Sharyl Attkisson told us in May that even her White House sources admitted to incompetence on Benghazi. Were portrayed by Republicans as either being lying or idiots, said one Obama administration official. Its actually closer to us being idiots. On USNews.com, Lara Brown derided a clueless White House while USA Today asked Is Obama under siege? and advanced the story line that the administration was guilty of incompetence if not malice in the trifecta of alleged scandals.
On the right, of course, the story line was uglier. Half-term Sarah Palin declared on Twitter that Obama was either a liar or incompetent, while the Daily Callers Jim Treacher insisted Obama knew all about the deep, dark IRS, Benghazi and Holder scandals. The only alternative is that hes utterly, criminally incompetent. Either way, hes unfit for office. Well, thats not news on the right. They impeached the last Democratic president, remember? But even Democrat Bob Shrum declared the IRS scandal was evidence of incompetence on par with Jimmy Carters.
That much of the world of punditry, including some liberals, was wrong about the substance and symbolism of the IRS and Benghazi non-scandals (while concern-trolling the White House, though not genuinely caring, about its spying and secrecy) ought to give some people pause. It doesnt necessarily mean theyre wrong about problems with the ACA or NSA; it just means a lot of them have a credibility problem when it comes to assessing the presidents competence or lack thereof.
Personally, Im not without concern about it all. Last week I defended the administration when it came to the ACA website rollout; this week, Im finding myself less forgiving of the fact that the president and Democrats continued to use the line if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan even though they knew how much new ACA regulations would increase churn in the private insurance market. Jason Linkins and Jonathan Chait unpack what was fair and maybe not so fair about that claim.
Still, the House GOP has perfected its method of paralyzing the country, and the Obama administration, even though it controls only one-half of one-third of the government (and that minority is controlled by an even smaller, wingnut fringe): Hold endless hearings that reporters are forced to both cover and lazily use as evidence that the administration is in big trouble.
It would be nice if the two parties worked together on solutions to these problems, like they did with Medicare Part Ds troubles, but the Republican Party is no longer interested in governing. Instead we have endless hearings and phony grandstanding and much of the media playing along. Wake me when its over.
Half of Obama’s incompetence is Intentional as Isurance against the other half of his imcomprence which is not...
Ie. he only find stuff out from the news like every other slub...
I’m still trying to figure out what part of the IRS deliberately abusing its power to help leftist organizations and harm TEA party organizations in order to get Zero re-elected is a “non-scandal.” They lost me there.
Obama measures success in terms of how much disruption and damage he can cause. That’s all there is too it.
MSNBC political correspondent....nuff said, just another co-conspirator
If you looked at where our Country was 5 years ago and where it is now and you fail to see incompetent leadership, you need serious help!
What is this publication - Schlong?
Yeah, maybe we could have won the Iraq war, too.
With Medicare Part D, nobody was kicked off of their existing status quo while waiting for the new entitlement to begin.
Every day he sees increasing chaos in this formerly great nation, He is happy.
Awright, Joanie, you got me.
Obama certainly isn’t competent. On that we can all agree (dontcha love bipartisanship?).
But neither is he incompetent. For to be incompetent one must understand one’s duties and at least make an attempt, however futile, erroneous or disastrous, at doing one’s job.
Shannon Faulkner was incompetent. Wrong Way Corrigan was incompetent. The 1978 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were incompetent. But all of these people tried.
But Obama hasn’t even made such an attempt. By his closest advisers’ own admission, this president does not participate in a wide variety of important meetings, does not view important documents lest he be exposed to their contents and possibly recall later that which he read or heard, and does not make decisions or pronouncements based on knowledge or experience he may have acquired in half a decade as the nation’s chief executive.
He now claims to be strangers with his ‘signature’ legislation, the quasi-official title which bears his name and for which he engaged in a standoff with Congress only weeks ago.
His best and only defense is the most preposterous one - he has held the office but avoided the duties and responsibilities at all costs.
Incompetent? Insufficient data. Absent, distracted, disinterested, willfully ignorant? Absolutely - and stipulated by his own administration in a desperate bid to protect his bone china-brittle ego.
2nd post - Walsh spends several paragraphs sniffing at those using the term incompetence and declares it a myth.......she then neglects to disprove the ‘myth.’
Not incompetence, as such, but very willful ignorance.
Gives him “plausible deniability”, doncha know.
Except that excuse is wearing very thin, about now. Richard Nixon “didn’t know”, either.
Still, not everything can be counted as “not knowing”. Misapprehending the problem, and applying an entirely ineffective and inappropriate “fix” LOOKS a lot like incompetence.
Incompetence vs ‘fundamental transformation’ that he promised. Well folks, has he delivered on that promise?
People don’t want to remember such promises, dismissing them, I suppose, as election talk. But lookie here! You should of lissened!
It’s a non-scandal because Joan says it is, and she supported it anyway.
“On the right, of course, the story line was uglier. Half-term Sarah Palin declared on.....”
So she would be like part-term Senatard Obama?
If the SRM didn’t report it, is it really a scandal in the eyes of the low info voter?
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