Saturday, April 5, 2008


The U.S. presidency is the most stunning contemporary case of strategically applied incompetence. Stupidity is the ultimate Teflon, and with it the Republican Party's amiable dunces have disarmed moderate opposition and lurched the country rightward. These presidents know the royal secret of affecting obliviousness and letting your handlers take the blame for bad decisions. It's easy when no one thinks you're capable of making a decision, let alone policy, by yourself. Normal standards of honesty, accuracy and responsibility don't apply to leaders too dumb to know the difference.

Richard Nixon demonstrated the downside of a smart presidency when no one could reasonably doubt that he knew exactly what was going on with Watergate. The Republicans learned their lesson, however. Gerald Ford was the first step in a flight from intelligence that only appeared to reach its climax with Ronald Reagan. Reagan's deniability was entirely plausible when he said he had no idea that Oliver North & Co. had deliberately flouted the Constitution.

But no one could have known then that someone would soon top the Great Communicator in the high-level ignorance department. It is George W. Bush's great achievement that he is credibly aggrieved when blamed for the weapons-of-mass-destruction ruse -- or blamed for anything. No acting is necessarily. That old royal governing trick just comes naturally to our current president: Where unavoidable, blame much more believably attaches to the scheming or overenthusiastic or misguided or just plain capable underlings who went too far. LINK

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As Jim Hightower explains it, is that “the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans possess more net worth today than the bottom 90 percent of us combined. Worse, these privileged few and their political henchmen have structured a new economic ‘normal’ of long-term joblessness, low wages, no benefits or worker rights, miserly public services, and a steadily widening chasm between the rich and the rest of us.” We must restore sanity to this nation.