It’s pretty pathetic how many in government service these days provide living proof of the validity of the Peter Principle, which asserts that “Everyone rises to the level of their incompetence.” Either that, or they’re liars.
Starting right at the top, with the President who doesn’t know about anything until he reads about it in the newspaper. He “didn’t know about” the IRS targeting of conservative groups until he learned it from press reports, even though the White House staff knew as early as 2011. The media were also his source for the questionable Associated Press phone record fiasco.
If he really doesn’t know what’s going on in his administration, which is highly unlikely since the politics have his modus operandi fingerprints all over these scandals, then he’s grossly incompetent. If he’s employing this plausible deniability tactic to maintain a distance with the abhorrent actions of his administration, then his moral authority to lead is even more dubious than previously determined.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bloviated her incompetence in a congressional hearing room, either not knowing (or not willing to acknowledge culpability) with anything regarding the Benghazi 9/11 attack of last year. As an exclamation mark to her obtuseness, she finally lashed out, “What difference does it make?” Well, Madame Secretary, to those who want to know the truth, it makes a lot of difference when those at the highest levels of government, including you, lie to us (and four loyal Americans are dead because of it!)
Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, while proving adept at covering for his boss, has lost all credibility with the White House press corps by his obfuscation and mendacity when pressed on recent administration scandals. And with regard to the Benghazi incident, obviously wanting to move on with a cavalier “there’s nothing to see here” kind of attitude, he claims, “That was a long time ago.” Really! Nine months is a long time ago? So if you lied nine months ago, that’s not supposed to matter when we have four dead, including an ambassador?
And we can’t overlook the utter incompetence of the Internal Revenue Service leadership. Former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller knew for over a year that the “Advocacy Group” in Cincinnati had been targeting conservative groups, disallowing tax-exempt status. He claimed to have initiated an investigation, but knew nothing about the results of the investigation or who was running it.
Miller’s former IRS boss, Douglas Shulman, had twice testified to Congress that the conservative group targeting was not happening. And when he was finally confronted with the facts that it was indeed occurring, he claimed ignorance as his defense. And when queried by congressmen why he visited the White House 157 times, more than any cabinet member, while his predecessor had only visited once, he imperiously responded that the only visit he could recall was taking his kids to the Easter egg roll. Seriously, where do they find these guys?
Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS non-profit review division, is perhaps the only one from the administration who seems to have any semblance of integrity. At least she had the scruples to plead the 5th so as to not incriminate herself, although she likely then committed perjury before the congressional committee when she pompously declared, “I have done nothing wrong.” So much for her semblance of integrity!
Heck, IRS leadership can’t even muster the receipts for their conferences and lavish shindigs, including a $4 million “conference” in Las Vegas where they made videos of line-dancing IRS employees and featured a “Star Trek” video production that would embarrass a high school wannabe movie maker. Next time you meet with the IRS, tell them you can’t seem to locate your receipts and see how well that goes over with them!
And just this past week, FBI Director Robert Mueller proved his incompetence as he could not name the lead investigator in the IRS scandal. The investigation was purportedly ordered by his boss (the president) over a month ago; and the head of the agency knows nothing of the status of the investigation, or who’s conducting it!
The only thing anyone in this administration seems capable of accepting responsibility for, or knowing anything about, is the one program run by Washington that seems to be working and working well: the NSA data mining of American citizens. And regrettably, it took a whistle-blowing contractor to expose the extent of that “big brother” program that’s monitoring every citizen’s phone calls, emails, and digital footprint, including social media.
Either the entire administration is clueless, incompetent, and refuses to accept responsibility for anything; or they’re all liars. Either way, we clearly have an out-of-control government, too large and unwieldy to manage, and a gaggle of politicians and bureaucrats too incompetent or dishonest to run it.
AP award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.