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The hell with competence

By Michael J. Smith on Wednesday March 29, 2006 04:59 PM

I'm noticing lately a new buzzword being flung about by Democrats: "competence." We're supposed to believe that the Democrats are or would be more "competent" than the Republicans. Two thoughts come to mind:

1. Doesn't this tacitly acknowledge what Left critics of the Democrats have been saying for years -- namely that there is no substantial difference, on any genuinely political question, between the parties? If the Democrats are reduced to running on "competence", isn't that because there's no matter of substance that differentiates them from the Republicans?

2. Why on earth should the idea of competence appeal to us? Do we want a more competently run Iraq war, a better organized police state, faster job exportation, and enhanced transfer of wealth to the very,very rich from everybody else?

In fact, given this bipartisan consensus to screw us every way they can, incompetence is the best we can hope for.

Comments (5)

It's a sad, sad pass we've come to when the only thing we have going for us is our overlord's incompetence.

I agree totally. When the party starts focusing on "competence" rather than ideology, it is clear that there is no ideological differences involved, at least none that matter.

When Kerry ran his campaign in 2004, he was claiming that he could run the Iraq war more competently than Bush was. The last week of the war, instead of talking about the Lancet study that showed that 100,000 Iraqis died from the war, he was going on about some missing arms cache in Iraq. It was all about competence, not about the immorality of the war. But who wants someone who is more competent at being an immoral imperialist aggressor?

But this goes back even further. When Michael Dukakis gave his acceptance speech at the Democratic Party convention in 1988, his first words were something like, "The issue is competence". Whatever liberalism he may have believed, he, de-emphasized ideology, and instead claimed that he was all about being a more competent President, a sort of technocrat-in-chief. The sordid history of the Democrats emphasizing competence over ideology goes back a long, long way.

tim d:

Yes, let's all not forget about Kerry's unforgettable line during the first debate with Bush:

"Now, the problem is that they didn't think these things through properly. And these are the things you have to think through.[There's that competency again]
What I want to do is change the dynamics on the ground. And you have to do that by beginning to not back off of the Fallujahs and other places, and send the wrong message to the terrorists. You have to close the borders."

I won't even bother to talk about the plethora of war crimes committed in Fallujah by the U.S. military...mostly since you all know already I'm sure.

By the way, don't forget about how our friend john was raving about Democrats returning competency to the government...

I found the exact quote from Michael Dukakis, from his 1988 acceptance speech. His exact words were, "Because this election isn’t about ideology. It’s about competence."

That worked out so well for Dukakis, didn't it? That should've been a hint to them.

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