Thursday, 2 February 2006

Incompetence is self-perpetuating.

I think I've figured out the Bush presidency.

1) Settle on some issue you want to tackle.
Iraq, Social Security, teen pregnancy, whatever.

2) Do exactly the wrong thing, and do it stupidly, so the problem gets worse.
For example, on teen pregnancy, push abstinence-only programs that don't work and cause more teen pregnancies.
On Iraq, turn it into a hotbed of terrorism by waging a war incompetently, angering the populace, and inadvertently creating a market for new terrorists.
Social Security, Medicare, abortion, foreign policy, you name it.

3) Use the newly escalating crisis to demonstrate how much of a crisis we have on our hands.

4) Point out that the only way to handle the challenges we now face is your bold leadership.

5) Repeat.

Was it Ernest Benn or Groucho Marx who said:
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.

Update: On point 3, don't forget the happy talk. Be sure and tell everyone how great things are going, but that there's still a crisis. It sounds trickier than it is. The key is to talk about things you're gonna do once you get your new superpowers.


  1. hello,

    i enjoyed your comment on farfblog, so i thought i'd cruise over. and i even more enjoyed your page, so it was worth the trip. if you're ever in the mood for a poetic brood with photographic accompaniment, you can stop by my site! :)

    and: i hope you use that 'short/shorter' example about your son's hair in a critical thinking class - it's a good example of, well, of something... (i don't teach critical thinking, but if i ever do, i might have to steal that example!)

  2. What is this? A comment!
    Congratulations, STG! You're the first of millions.

    Yeah, whenever I think of a strange sentence, I save it for analysis in my linguistics classes. Here's one showing how commas change meaning.

    I decided to ask him which was the right thing to do.
    I decided to ask him, which was the right thing to do.

    Anyway, welcome, and keep commenting! It's very encouraging.

    Your blog is lovely, by the way.

  3. I don't really have anything to say. Just wanted to freak you out with another comment.

    Seriously, the 'screw it up bad and declare a crisis' is an old trick. It's been quite explicitly declared as a strategy by certain neocon/neoliberal governments I can think of. A certain former education minister in my province once used the phrase, verbatim, 'create a crisis' in education (as a method to ease passage of radical restructuring of the same system). Believe the happy folk nearer your neck of the woods who did New Zealand's big neocon mambo back a few decades now talked similar talk, too.

    (Yeah, I got here from Fafblog, too.)

  4. I was going to leave a comment on a previous post (about are all muslims crazy?) but I thought I'd do it here as clearly there is some kind of strange attractor going on. Anyway, no they're not and I know this because my dad was one so obviously his whole family (except me) are and they are all very nice people who live in Jordan and other parts of the world. If you want to understand more about muslims there is a superb article on called something like 'Why Hamas won' (I can't get the URL as the site is down for maintenance now). Nice blog btw I will stop by again

  5. Do you think perhaps it's past my bedtime? I just reread my previous comment and the grammar is just appalling!!!! I apologise unreservedly and promise to sharpen up my act if I ever have the temerity to comment again

  6. Hey, snow queen, thanks for stopping by.

    Obviously, not all Muslims are crazy. I was just wondering if anyone had the stats.

    My hometown in the USA attracted a large population of Iranian uni students in the 70s. You can imagine what that must have been like for them during that time -- some brave people. But it was quite an eye-opener for me as a kid to see that they were really just normal uni students.

  7. Ok Opendemocracy is up again - here's the URL to the article by Jim Lederman that I mentioned earlier:

    Why Hamas won


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