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Corporate Meritocracy

By Al Schumann on Thursday December 24, 2009 10:55 AM

My take on Barack Obama's apparent rhetorical lapse is that it's a product of his environment. Corporate high achievers have to master the dark arts of advanced infantilization, passive aggression, preemptive CYA, post facto CYA, stonewalling, empty banality, sanctimony, back stabbing and rationalizing the crimes other people commit in anticipation of committing them when your turn comes around.

In that world, the disasters resulting from Bush's economic policies are terrible things that could happen to anyone taking on the burden of senior management positions. The policies themselves are not to blame. After all, they worked very nicely for many years. Bush himself had the bad luck to be the Decider when the wretched slackers destroyed the bankers' party. It goes without saying that now the slackers have to pay to fix it and they need to be encouraged to do so. Fortuitously, the best way to do that is with Bush's economic policies. There's no point in management grinding away on that, however, as even liberals can run short of the cognitive dissonance they'll need for the next set of elections.

Comments (12)


one point missed by tiny frivolution
the dems are no longer the washington generals
they are the boston celtics or la lakers
back in form again
for the first time since
the '66 congo back lash
proof ??
if they mangle cap and trade
curb entitlement growth
and neuter employee free choice

stuff repubs can't do now
and thus their return to second banana

Well, the other reason Zero can't call this Bush's economy is that it isn't Bush's economy. This is corporate capitalism.

And, to the extent the outcomes derive from politics, not that they ever would press this "Bush" point, but, unless one were a liberal blogger, one could hardly forget the various achievements of the master of fast-NAFTA:







Al Schumann:

I think Tiny Revolution recognizes that, and is familiar with the provenance of the so-called "Bush economy", but still wonders why Obama eschews even a bad faith or disingenuous rhetorical advantage. It's a good question. There were some pretty good speculations in the comments there too.


I can confirm from long reading that ATR is aware.


"It's a good question"

with a simple answer
the dems have taken guardianship
of the system
and that requires lowering expectations dramatically
if he wouldn't attack the bankers relentlessly
because he bailed em out
he won't attack the bush economy because his will be his long b4 we see serious job booming 'round here

Schwarz is an idiot. He just can't imagine the "competence" being in something other than Schwarzian Valhalla. So if the Donklebottery is seeking its own definition of Valhalla --which it truly is, and which Schwarz ought to be able to sense as a self-appointed smart man-- then how can Schwarz begin to discuss "competence."

The only way Schwarz's post means anything is as a mockery of himself. Maybe that's what he is up to. I would applaud that.

The only thing more annoying than Schwarz at ATR is that dipshit "N E", who fellates Obama and the Donkle at every turn.

Al Schumann:

CF, Schwarz is no idiot! He's attacking the Democrats' much vaunted competence, not trying to shine by comparison. That attack is aimed at a big, fat target. The Democratic supporters are dyed in the wool authoritarian followers. Their faith in the tenets of managerial royalism and meritocracy is close to unshakeable. Their arguments get increasingly ridiculous as they defend that and their tar baby trump card is the claim to competence, e.g. it may be a bad war, but at least it's being managed competently.

Schwarz lets the Dem faithful exhibit their tar babies, make their bogus arguments and so forth. A free comment policy isn't approbation for the tar babies.

Owen, the simpleness of the answer is often the mark of a good question. The persuasiveness is in the premises.

Al, then I suppose Schwarz plays a multi-dimensional game of chess on the 2-dimensional board I'm stuck with. I can't see his approach as being strategically sound. If one looks around, the theme of "competence" can't be argued accurately because the problem is that the majority of those using the qualifier have the wrong goals in mind. Therefore "competence" is assessed incorrectly, because the critic is assuming the criticized person's goals and methods are the same as the critic would use. Witness Jane Hamsher calling Rahm Emanuel "incompetent" because he's not listening to ...for example, Bono or Michael Moore... or because Emanuel won't let Hamsher interview His Obamaness.

The "competence" angle shouldn't even be dignified. By discussing it, Schwarz looks like that hind-tit-sucking pseudo-smartguy George Lakoff. The "competence" argument merely continues the wrong discussion, as Lakoff's "framing" argument does.

If someone wants to wake up the Donklebottery, then one would do it by giving them the truth, not by letting them think their misperceptions are not only accurate, but are the real thing in issue.

Al Schumann:

CF, I agree with you on the substance of that. I remain sympathetic to him, however. He's got a difficult situation to navigate and he does take body shots of the kind you recommend. But he has a large circle of acquaintance, much of which remains stuck in pwog dreaming. Hence the multi-dimensional game.

I was in a similar situation at one point. I solved it by alienating roughly half the people I know. I wish I could have been more diplomatic. Although I can't say I'd have changed anyone's mind.


nice exchange guys

i play one dimensional chess

cui bone chess
i asssume rhambo types know
damn well
what their doing
they're following
liberal corporate suggestions
and how to
just well enough
to get it done

Al Schumann:

I have a small knock against that heuristic, Owen. I think mediocrity gets insufficient attention when you looks to see who benefits. And I think the elevation of mediocrity to a virtue is a major, defining characteristic of a meritocracy.

Al, anyone in the game of trying to persuade others on the value of being honest and accurately approaching reality... is bound to alienate more than he/she converts. As far as I have read, it has always been thus in America, and likely in all of human existence.

I like to classify people in one of 3 classes when it comes to the realities of human society, a/k/a political-social-economic realities:

* the grifters

* the skeptics

* the marks

Most people are marks. They spend their entire life getting played by the grifters, and getting angry at the skeptics who frequently remind them of the dangerous schemes played by the grifters.

What makes a mark turn into a skeptic is getting personally, deeply burned by a grifter, and thereafter being enlightened by a skeptic who puts the whole schmeer into perspective.

And Schwarz reads like someone who is comforting the marks in their victimhood.

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