The Age of Incompetence

A few days ago I wrote that Obama’s presidency had ushered in the Age of Insanity. Add to that the Age of Incompetence.

He said that no lobbyists would find jobs in his administration. Since then he’s appointed at least 12 former lobbyists to various positions. He has had four other appointments turn into debacles. First Governor Bill Richardson had to bow out because of an investigation into a pay-for-play scheme, something the administration knew was ongoing but nominated him anyway. Three appointments were exposed as tax cheats, two of which were forced to drop out of consideration. Tim Geithner was approved by partisan Democrats and spineless Republicans in the senate for Treasury Secretary because, they argued, he was too important and had to be approved even if he’s a tax cheat. President Obama was forced to go on five different news channels on Tuesday in an attempt to stop the hemorrhaging. He also said that he doesn’t want to give the impression that there are two rules for two different Americas, to borrow a phrase from John Edwards. Well, if Obama wants to prove that there are not two Americas, one for the privileged and one for the rest of us, then he needs put his money where his mouth is and ask Geithner to resign. Shawn Mallow agrees. Be sure to read his post.

On top of all that, we’re now hearing that Leon Panetta has a few issues.

In addition to the Obama Administration’s vetting bungles, they have other problems with offering and then un-offering Anthony Zinni the Ambassadorship to Iraq. This is how Zinni said the whole episode went down:

“Jones had called me before the inauguration and asked if I would be willing to serve as ambassador to Iraq or in one of the envoy jobs, on the Middle East peace process,” Zinni told Foreign Policy. “I said yes.”

“Then two weeks ago, Jones called,” Zinni continued, “and said, ‘We talked to the secretary of state, and everybody would like to offer you the Iraq job.’ I said yes.

“The [vice]* president called and congratulated me,” Zinni said.

Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked for a meeting last Monday night, Zinni said. He said he went to the meeting in her office at the State Department, where Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Williams Burns were also in attendance.

“She thanks me, asked me my views on Iraq,” Zinni recalled. “She said to Burns and Steinberg, ‘We’ve got to move quickly, Crocker is leaving, we’ve got to get someone in there and get the paperwork done and hearings… Lots to do to get ready to go.”

Zinni said he expected a call from Burns the next day. Not hearing from him, he called him.

“To make a long story short, I kept getting blown off all week,” Zinni said. “Meantime, I was rushing to put my personal things in order,” to get ready to go.

“Finally, nobody was telling me anything,” Zinni said. “I called Jones Monday several times. I finally got through late in evening. I asked Jones, ‘What’s going on?’ And Jones said, ‘We decided on Chris Hill.'”

Obama confidently told us he was ushering in a new era of responsibility. Instead, he’s brought us the Age of Incompetence.

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