Wednesday, February 05, 2020

House Kneegrow Busted Unselfconsciously AssKissing and Bootlicking

nakedcapitalism | On one level, this is an illustration of America’s descent into banana republic status. Pundits and the media keep reinforcing American exceptionalist fantasies, our brand fumes of vaunted democracy, yet we can’t even run elections competently. Is is just the grifting, that introducing more tech creates more opportunities for vendor enrichment? Or is it yet more proof that a lot of people in charge really hate democracy and are at best indifferent to doing things right?

It’s not hard to see the Iowa fiasco as an illustration of an even more deeply-seated pathology: elite incompetence. Too many people with the right resumes get to fail upwards or at worst sideways. And remember, unlike our older WASP-y leaders who were a combination of people from the right clubs and self-made men, our current crop of people in charge pride themselves on being the end products of a meritocratic system, as in their claim to legitimacy stems from the claim that they are more talented (gah) than mere mortals and therefore obviously should be in the top slots because they’ll do oh so much better than everyone else.

And it’s the Democratic party, as the representative of the 10% professional managerial classes, that really owns this disease. Recall in Thomas Frank’s Listen Liberal how he set forth, without irony, a conference that was treacly with the self-regard, with the way every participant was lavished with embarrassing exaggerations of their accomplishments. No one had the slightest sense of how narcissistic and pampered they seemed. And it wasn’t hard to imagine they’d all collapse in a heap if presented with a real challenge, like suddenly becoming destitute or being dumped in a remote area with neither a water bottle nor GPS.

And we keep seeing this leadership class succeed in rent extraction and not much else. Go down the list: The post-crisis failure to reform the banks or even go through the motions by incarcerating a few execs and turfing out some board members. Our grossly over-priced, underperforming health care system. Our student-impoverishing higher education system. The F-35. The botched Obamacare rollout. Our Middle-East nation-breaking, which has scored geopolitical own goals like destabilizing Europe, facilitating Russia asserting itself a geopolitical power despite having an economy the size of South Korea and in the face of our economic sanctions, and making us deservedly disliked around the world. Hillary Clinton losing to of all people Donald Trump despite spending twice as much as his campaign spend because her team was enamored of Robby Mook’s models and somehow forgot about the Electoral College. 

And if you believe, as Team Dem does, that every problem can be solved with better PR, the corollary is you never admit to failure, you never do post mortems, and you keep incompetents around who you allow to fail and fail again.