Then Our Leaders Will Make Millions?

Running Government Like A Business, by Jeff ParkerIf the stories coming out of Wisconsin are to be believed and Scott Walker was, indeed, oblivious to the fact that his county staff were running a political operation from work, the conservative mantra about “running government like a business” apparently means “one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.”

If that’s the case, then we’re left with the question whether oblivious management is a flaw or a feature. Both the “Peter principle” and my version of “up and out” suggest that, one way or the other, incompetents are to be removed. But, if the dufus factor is a desideratum (a feature), then we’re in a whole lot more trouble than we thought. Though, it would explain a lot.

How could that happen, that we’d end up with a brigade of dufuses in leadership positions? Perhaps it’s the gift of gab that’s misleading. Perhaps, in a culture that puts a premium on silent obedience, people who talk a lot stand out, even if they don’t know what they’re talking about. So, they get promoted to star status because they are not afraid to talk. Their soon noticed incompetence, which makes them easy to program, is an added bonus.

If that’s the case, then the human mic being used by the Occupy movement to get the message out and promote consensus among participants is doubly ironic. It’s ironic because, as a replacement for electronic amplification ( prohibited by ordinances against intrusive noise), the human mic has done double duty and proved more effective than anyone expected. In addition to broadcasting messages, the human mic reverses the political convention, in which has one person repeats what political operatives want him to say, by having many people repeat what one person, at a time, enunciates. Conservatives don’t get irony and taking turns is not part of their kit bag, either.

Taking turns and sharing–two character traits conservatives don’t seem to understand. Maybe that explains their antagonism towards public TV. After all, Sesame Street was all about caring and sharing and counting and telling time–none of which conservatives seem to be able to wrap their brains around. So, they have nothing but disdain for the Sesame Generation. And Mister Rogers, that all-American dad in a neighborhood they never had, can ride his damn trolley into oblivion too, for all they care. It’s the fox and the grapes all over again.

Cartoon: Like A Business" by Jeff Parker licensed by on

Monica Smith

Monica Smith writes Hannah's Blog. Born in Germany, she came to the United States as a child, living first in California, then after an interval in Chile, in New York. Married to a retired professor at the University of Florida, where she lived for 17 years, she moved to St. Simons Island, Georgia, in 1993 and now divides her time between Georgia and New Hampshire. (New Hampshire, she says, is always interesting during a presidential election.) She and her husband have three children and five grandchildren. Ms. Smith says she "learned long ago that I am not a good team player when I got hired at the Library of Congress, fresh out of college with a degree in political science and proficiency in four foreign languages, to 'edit' library cards and informed my supervisor that if she was going to insist I punch the clock exactly on time, my productivity was going to fall from being the highest to being the same as everyone else's. The supervisor opted to assign me to another building where there was no time-clock. After I had the first of our three children, I decided a paycheck wasn't worth the hassle."