Friday, September 09, 2005

Competence

I've been as quick as anyone to accuse the Bush administration and Republicans in general of incompetence. They screwed up in getting involved in Iraq, they screwed up the response to Hurrican Katrina. Their tax cuts have failed to bring people out of poverty, or to produce new jobs. Their policies have bankrupted the government and tarnished America's image in the world. They deny evolution and global warming. They seem like idiots and incompetents.

However, that is really an unwarranted conclusion. To be incompetent means that you are incapable of accomplishing your goals. Before we can conclude that the Republicans are incompetent, we need to know what their goals are, and whether any of the bad things that have happened under their watch are at odds with those goals.

If the goals are simply to elect more Republicans and to enrich campaign contributors, then as far as I know, they have accomplished their goals with amazing competence.

[Update] Okay, after a discussion in comments about the meaning of the word "competent", I've come to the conclusion that Bush really is incompetent. He cannot be relied on to do the job that he was hired to do, and that's the only measure of competence that matters. The fact that he doesn't actually care about doing a better job is not relevant.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Rich said...

How about if our Commander in Chief be judged relative to this statement he utttered (twice):

"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

In my estimation, relative to this higher standard, a grade of "competent" is more elusive, given that the general Welfare has been promoted rather poorly these last several years.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Kyle McCullough said...

You're suggesting that we judge our employee's competence by his ability to collect a pay check?

Bush and his administration were hired to do a job that they are not doing well. They are incompetent.

12:12 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

My point is that there is no evidence that they are trying to do something and failing at it.

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Rich said...

You use that word, but I don't think that's the way it's generally understood.

If you go into a deli and order a sandwich, and the guy behind the counter gives you something with wheat bread instead of rye, and turkey instead of provolone, and leaves off the mayonnaise you requested entirely, it is not much of a defense of his competence to say "well, he didn't intend to fill your order anyway - he's just not that into that." He's not the one who gets to judge competence, you are. (He probably calls it competency anyway.)

That said, I don't think W stays up nights thinking about what the verdict of history on his tenure will be. He's just not that into it. I'm just hoping that in a dozen years, Jenna and Barbara don't feel a compulsion to amend the legacy of their father's administration and run for co-Presidents themselves. Somebody's liable to vote for them.

7:29 AM  
Blogger Daryl McCullough said...

Okay, I'm convinced. Bush is incompetent.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Rich said...

Okay, I'm convinced. Bush is incompetent.

Somehow I don't think this flip-flop is going to be making headlines anywhere.

Next discussion: whether Master Yoda's administration was incompetent or not. (I think it was.)

11:25 AM  

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