Crossing the talent desert
A late friend who had been the chairman of a college art department was featured in a documentary video. In the film, he said that "talent was overrated." He put the emphasis instead on desire. This may be true for art — but not for effective governance. Our current vice president, Kamala Harris, leaps to mind. She would likely be seriously challenged running a lemonade stand but is just bubbling over with ambition.
She is only the tip of the iceberg. Obviously, Joe Biden has a profound talent deficit, but such shortcomings are often offset by having capable operatives working behind the scenes. Why does it seem that such is currently not the case? I am inclined to suggest that ideology has taken over the decision-making within the Democrat party. FDR had a "brain trust" that included Louis Brandeis, Raymond Moley, Harry Hopkins, Frances Perkins, and Harold Ickes to help him navigate the New Deal. Obviously, FDR's choices had a lot to do with ideologic compatibility, but plain old ability also mattered...a lot. It seems that is no longer the case.
Harris was chosen out of, say, 100 million eligible adults in the U.S. because of intersectionality. Much more important than talent is the number of boxes that get checked off. A female human with some native African DNA accounts for two boxes. Her Indo-Asian mother checked off another. Being able to fog a mirror closed the deal. That her father's family back in Jamaica owned slaves was left out of the equation.
A pall of mediocrity hangs over this administration. Janet Yellen at Treasury laid a colossal egg when she proposed taxing unrealized capital gains. Not only would all forms of investment be strangled by such a tax, but Yellen's credibility as a financial wiz was demolished. Anthony Blinken at State is no Mike Pompeo, let alone a Henry Kissinger. As a run-of-the-mill foreign policy drone, it was expected that he be thrown under the bus as the scapegoat for the bungled U.S. pullout from Afghanistan since he could be so easily replaced. Instead, rather, the lapdog media threw a cloak of silence over the whole affair.
Herein lies a possible explanation for this palpable lack of talent and its gathering consequences: when political operatives get used to relying on the ideologically corrupt media to cover for them, they're likely to develop a lot of bad habits. They think they're working with a net...but the net can be only so big and hold only so much weight. You can add into this the declining credibility and shrinking market share of said corrupt media. The defection of some prominent media players has already signaled this decline. Early on, Bernard Goldberg left CBS, followed later by Sharyl Attkisson. Matt Taibbi left Rolling Stone, and then Bari Weiss said "good-bye" to the N.Y. Times with a well-circulated letter of resignation.
And, oops...I almost forgot to mention our attorney general, Merrick Garland. He's so mediocre that it's easy to forget him. For starters, he put a feather in Mitch McConnell's cap by giving ol' Mitch a great opportunity to do the Lord's work by keeping Garland off the Supreme Court. A.G.s come and go, but SCOTUS members tend to leave feet first. Garland's devious attempt at targeting justifiably angry moms and dads assailing corrupt school boards has sealed his doom.
There, now I've covered three of the four original Cabinet positions. The defense secretary has avoided much exposure...even during the Afghanistan blunder, where the American taxpayer involuntarily rearmed the Taliban, along with numerous other screw-ups. Now our allies are scratching their heads, and our enemies are feeling their oats. Where is talent when you need it?
The answer is that it's really out there...you just have to choose it over ideological compatibility. But when you're strenuously adhering to a nonsensical agenda, you must maintain really serious groupthink discipline among your people...including the nameless, faceless people behind the curtain who do much of the dirty work.
Image: Jim Choate.