c/o Ed Morrissey…
In my column today forthe Fiscal Times, I argue that this epidemic of sudden incompetence and ignorance completely undermines the argument for large, activist government. That’s true whether one believes that these executives are either telling the truth or lying about their knowledge and involvement:
So what are we to think about this competence epidemic of executive ignorance, impotence, and incompetence? The symptoms are either self-serving lies intended to avoid responsibility for wrongdoing, or genuine statements of impotence and ignorance. Either way, it demolishes the argument for bigger and more activist government.
Start with the credulous assumption that everyone is telling the truth about knowing nothing about what happened on their “watch,” as Schulman said, from the top down. David Axelrod tried to use this defense a week ago, telling MSNBC’s Morning Joe, “Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast.”
That, of course, is precisely the argument conservatives make for scaling down the size of government. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been told the same about Cabinet-level positions (Attorney General Eric Holder) and sub-Cabinet positions (IRS commissioners within Treasury). If Schulman’s argument is that he can’t be expected to account for the performance of his 90,000-member organization, then the federal government at every level is too large for proper accountability and management.
The icing on the accountability cake, of course, is the left’s persistence in holding George Bush accountable for things while he wasn’t even the President, while Obama is responsible for absolutely nothing while still actually in office.