Thursday, May 17, 2007

Conservative Worldview Breeds Incompetence

Over at Rockridge Nation, they have up a particularly important post on the framing of the incompetence of the Bush administration. Every Republican on the planet is now backing away from Bush and declaring him not a true conservative. This is their explanation for his failures and incompetence in governing.

We need not concede that point. In fact, we can take that frame completely away from them. Follow me below the jump to see how we can do this.

Blog Florida Blue

Cross Posted from Florida Kossacks

From the Rockridge post:
What many conservatives are doing today is playing the "blame game," or the "bad apple" defense. It's all Bush's fault, these failures, not ours. We are different, better, competent. The Rockridge Institute pointed out in a piece last year,"Bush is Not Incompetent," that Bush wasn't a failure at all; in fact, by conservatives' standards, he is quite the success. He has achieved many of their goals; that these ended in apparent failure points not to incompetence, or a deviation off the golden conservative path, but to the failure of the conservative vision at its heart.

In a piece behind the firewall in today's New York Times, David Greenberg, a professor at Rutgers University, had this to say:
...if any president has tried to implement conservative ideals, it’s Bush... The result — in the assessment of not just liberals but also other observers — has been disaster: a mess of a war, the failure to plan for Hurricane Katrina, the erosion of the church-state wall, widening inequality, the loss of civil liberties including habeas corpus, and scores of other ills that readers of this column can list as easily as I. This was the fruit of modern American conservatism.

There is a basic reason for this. The conservative worldview is ill equipped to govern and therefore naturally breeds incompetence in governance. The view that government is bad ill prepares conservatives to actually run the government.

Even in their supposed strength in national defense, their management of the armed services and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan has proved disastrous. The Secretary of Defense's famous statement about going to war with the army you have rather than the army you wish you had is a case in point. These conservatives started a war of choice with a military, that by the Secretary's own words, was not the military he needed to do the job.

Other areas of governance have proved even more grossly incompetent. Their inept reaction to Hurricane Katrina is but one example of this. Having political hacks change the reports of scientists and threatening scientists over global warming is another. Management of the environment by people who truly don't believe in the efficacy of environmental management is a proven method of insuring incompetence.

This appears to me to be an area where we could all do a better job in framing our message. It may be true that the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is particularly incompetent. However, this is by no means an aberration of conservative governance. We should not let the Republicans get away with framing this mess as if it were.

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