Malice, Incompetence, or Malcompetence?
Every time American Thinker posts am article condemning the incompetence of the Obama administration (as one of mine did recently), the comments sections are rife with contempt for the authors for ascribing to incompetence what to those readers is a truly Machiavellian, leftist scheme to undermine the greatness of America. And every time some reader labels me politically correct (a quite laughable charge as anyone who knows this knuckle-dragger can attest) or politically naïve, I’m reminded of the adage, “Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by ineptitude.”
I’d always heard that was a Napoleon quote but curiosity drove me to a Google search where I learned that the adage actually bears several names, the most recent being Hanlon’s Razor (possibly better known as "Heinlein's Razar"), an obvious play on Occam’s Razor. It is also known as Finagle’s Law of Negative Dynamics or Finagle’s corollary to Murphy’s Law. Older versions of the same theme go back as far as Goethe’s, “…misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At all events the two latter are at less frequent occurrence.” Arthur C. Clarke authored the closely related Grey’s Law: “Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.” And yes, apparently Napoleon did make this same observation regarding human behavior. But my favorite is from Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary, a witty Brit named Bernard Ingham, who phrased it “Cock-up before conspiracy.”
Getting back to the particular incompetent in question, Barack Obama, my own thinking is that many of the cock-ups during his tenure are in fact the products of a ruthless, hard-left, political intent to “fundamentally change America” while rewarding his friends and punishing his enemies. However, these plotstoo frequently turn out to be far less effective than they were intended because of the ineptitude of Obama and his minions in carrying them out. Their programs may well be hatched with a devious Cloward-Piven strategy and goal in mind, but their inability to effectively implement their schemes results in continuing Keystone Kops cock-ups.
Do those of you who attribute all of the Obama scandals solely to malice, honestly believe Obama and Holder wanted Fast and Furious to blow up in their faces? Did Barry and Hilly really want to appear as clueless and unresponsive in Benghazi as subsequent revelations have made them out to be? Or how about the IRS cock-up; don’t you really suppose that they would rather that their heavy hand had not been caught in that cookie jar of corruption? Recall how desperately they tried to keep it contained to Cincinnati. Or how about this VA mess which most certainly does appear to have a Cloward-Piven result, even if unintended? And of course, the most colossal of the cock-ups has to be ObamaCare, which has to be the biggest administrative bungle in the history of bungling. Remember that the Democrats used every trick in their bag to get that bill enacted. And you believe they did that just so they could look like incompetent fools when it rolled out as it did? Was the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision a product of world-class scheming? Because of that particular, ongoing cock-up, the Democrats may very well lose the Senate this November. It’s difficult to believe that losing control of the Senate and thus imperiling the remainder of the Obama presidency was the planned goal behind the catastrophic rollout of Obamacare.
I do happen to agree that the current mess on the border is an Obama-caused disaster, one with a true Cloward-Piven motive driving it. But once again, their clumsy and imperious implementation is angering far more Americans than it is rallying to the cause of immigration reform. Look who’s coming out of that nasty cock-up looking presidential: Texas Governor, Rick Perry, not that pool-playing fool in the White House.
Ditto the entire foreign policy scene. Remember sly Barry promising the Russians he’d have more flexibility following his re-election? First he had to live through the embarrassment of being caught on an open mike and cameras selling out his country, but now he has to live with Reset and Red Line jokes and the almost daily embarrassing examples of Vladimir Putin schooling him in the finer points of world strategy before a watching world. Barry’s out on the course practicing his putt while Putin’s putting Russian bases back in Cuba, which constitutes about the biggest diplomatic middle finger one can imagine. Remember that it was Khrushchev’s contempt for the callow John Kennedy that emboldened the Russian leader to begin erecting the Berlin Wall and to position IRBM’s in Cuba back in the 60s. Perhaps you could argue malice is behind this foreign policy bungling but do you really believe Obama wants to be not just the first black president but also the first president ever to be impeached and removed from office?
Do not discount that possibility, for at the rate Obama is alienating Americans, even more and more Democrats, the required two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict on an impeachment charge from the House could be a possibility if the Republicans take the Senate and Obama continues to lose Democrat support as he’s doing now. Too many Democrats may be leftist loons but many working-class Democrats are patriots who do not want to see their country lose its place as a world leader, politically, economically, or militarily. Even some Democrat political leaders will reach a point where they will not sit idly by while their party leader destroys their nation through his incompetence... or malice.
Maybe we should call it malcompetence: incompetence magnified by malevolent intent.