June 29, 2004
"Incompetent" ... say it again, "incompetent"
Posted by McQ
Since words are our medium, I'm always interested in how they're used, etc.
Take the word "incompetent".
Seems "incompetent" has won out over "miserable failure" and "dumb as a box of rocks" (although I understand "smirking chimp" is still in the running) as the favorite description of Bush and his administration by the left.
For instance Richard Cohen, in order to avoid the rush one presumes, declares Iraq a failure one day after the handover and before Michael Moore can claim credit. The reason?
A supposedly new Iraq was born this week, a graduate going off - really being kissed off - without the necessary skills. The insincerely proud parent of this miserable misfit is the Bush administration, whose incompetence has been staggering.
Not to be outdone, Ms Competence herself (heck we've been in Iraq less time than it took her to find her records from Rose Law Firm), Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton has weighed in as well:
"I think the administration has been both wrongheaded and incompetent and should not be rewarded."
Where'd this come from, you ask? Obviously the left would argue, "from the inept actions of the administration, you dolt!"
But that's more than arguable ... in fact its very arguable. No question many things could have been done better, but do they rise to the level of incompetence?
An argument for a different day. Today I'm more interested in the genesis of the meme than its truth.
Wandering around on google, I find what appears to be first use by Nancy Pelosi ... a paragon of competence if ever I've seen one. On May 21st she thrilled her constituents and the left side of the political spectrum by declaring that Bush was incompetent:
"I believe that the president's leadership in the actions taken in Iraq demonstrate an incompetence in terms of knowledge, judgment and experience in making the decisions that would have been necessary to truly accomplish the mission without the deaths to our troops and the cost to our taxpayers."
Dear Albert, breathing fire and brimstone, quickly did a little bandwagon hopping when on May 27th he too called the President incompetent. Speaking of competence, Gore caught rhetorical fire after the 2000 election in which he even failed to take his home state. But, to his statement:
"The unpleasant truth is that President Bush's utter incompetence has made the world a far more dangerous place and dramatically increased the threat of terrorist attacks against the United States,"
As with all things in the political realm, they're not what they seem. Pelosi is widely credited with starting the incompetence meme, but as with many politicians, it appears she stole someone else's work. Yes friends, it appears credit may indeed go to none other than David Corn who, on May 11th wrote:
It's the incompetence, stupid. That should be the battle cry of the forces of anti-Bushism.
But it is ... it is the apparent battle cry.
So was it Corn who coined it?
Well probably not. It appears, dear reader, that its an import. Yes, imported from another lefty politician. To his credit, he at least minces no words. I give you, from early February of this year, Australian Labour Party member and MP Mark Latham:
Labor MPs savagely attacked the US President on Wednesday. Frontbencher Mark Latham described Mr Bush as "the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory" and referred to Liberal MPs as a "conga line of suckholes" to Mr Bush.
Yes, true friends are hard to find, especially among suckholes.
There is good news though with the Democrat adoption of "incompetence" as their new meme. They've dropped gravitas like a hot rock.
Which makes sense if you think about it. After all, their candidate is John Kerry. And everyone know he needs a gravitas transplant in the worst way.
Which is worse ... being incompetent or lacking in gravitas?
Only the DNC knows for sure.