Heckuva Job, Gen. Mikey! (Hayden, that is...)

Apparently Gen. Hayden, Bush’s nominee to replace Porter Goss as CIA head, is (in addition to his not-so-little Fourth Amendment problems) yet another world-class fuckup of the sort that seems to populate the Bush Administration. Yesterday, TPM Muckraker summarized (and linked to) some overlooked reporting by Siobhan Gorman of the Baltimore Sun (free registration required), which found that, under Gen. Hayden’s watch at the NSA:

The TPM Muckraker piece then goes on to list a few billion dollars’ worth of those techno-screwups. And the Baltimore Sun piece goes into considerably more detail, if you don’t mind registering to read it:

If you aren’t clear on what you’re trying to do, the odds of your achieving it go way down. Funny how that works.

huh. & I heard that the techno stuff was his strong suit!

Look, this administration’s policy is “Stay the course.” That’s it. If the course happens to be incompetent appointees bungling their jobs, well, consistency is more important than reality-based flip-flopping.

After all, reality has a well-known liberal bias!

A mismanaged government program? Shocking!

Boy, is that the best the Bush-defenders can do these days? “Oh yeah, well… government is just bad in general so you can’t expect our guys to be competent!”

No wonder government, and particularly the current administration, is in such bad shape, if so many people are too lazy or complacent to be outraged by their fuckups.

I guess it was actually quite clever of conservatives to make such a furious noise about how innately incapable the very institution of government is, wasn’t it? It lowered public expectations right down to the bottom, especially among their supporters. Whatever they screw up, they can just shrug and say “Hey, what do you expect, government doesn’t work! (And we’re out to prove it!)”

Ya know, I thought you were one of the more objective and observant persons around here. But I guess not. How 'bout I issue you the same challenge I’ve issued to the idiot left like Elvis and Rjung - a challenge neither of them, or any one else I’ve leveled it at, has been able to meet. Find a statment from me defending Dubya. You wanna be lumped in with those reflexive jackasses, who conflate every single objection to their own blindered point of view to be a de facto statement in support of Bush? Be my pest. But unless and until you can demonstrate that I’m a defender of Dubya, piss off.

Plagiarizing P.J. O’Rourke now?

Your grant, sir.

Dude, that’s exactly my point: lazy or complacent acceptance that “they’re all like that, that’s just the nature of government” is defending the Administration and their claims to be above accountability.

I have no idea whether you actively support any particular policies of the Administration, and I don’t particularly care. But if you just shrug off their misdeeds and their screwups by blaming it all on “the system”, then yes indeed, you are defending them. And I wish you’d stop.

Well, how else to interpret this?

Yes, we’re talking about a mismanaged government program - and having grown up in the shadow of the Beltway, I know how common those are. But that, in and of itself, is not what this thread’s about, and you know it.

It’s like someone in the 1970s saying, “People break into offices like the DNC office in the Watergate all the time, so what,” and pretending that’s not a defense of Nixon.

You’re reading an awful lot into a simple throw away comment. Fer instance, where in those five words of mine do you find any notion of “acceptance?”

Next, you’re gonna tell me that “Shocking!” wasn’t meant sarcastically.

Or maybe you’ve simply become terminally clueless in your dotage, and failed to notice that this thread wasn’t about yet one more majorly fucked-up government program, but about Bush hiring the major (general) fucker-up to run the CIA.

But why else would you stop in to be shocked, shocked that government programs get mismanaged with some frequency, unless you were either (a) that completely oblivious to the subject matter of the thread, or (b) trying to defend Bush by deliberately and dishonestly belittling, via misdirection, the seriousness of what Bush was doing?

I don’t see a third alternative that’s believable. Enlighten me, o avuncular one.

And actually, AFAICT, you do do this quite a bit, Unc. I’m not “accusing” you of being pro-Bush, but you are definitely anti-anti-Bush, so to speak. Criticisms of Bush that you don’t consider rock-solid justified you jump on with contemptuous accusations of reflexive Bush-bashing. I’m thinking particularly of this thread where you repeatedly complained about people blaming Iraq contractor corruption/incompetence on the Bush administration. You eventually toned down that one somewhat:

ISTM that if “stupid shit like this” is indeed going on every day, then we should blame the guys in charge, and keep on blaming them until something is done about it.

Yeah, we’re never going to be able to fix every bureaucratic stupidity, but damn, that shouldn’t mean that we can’t get upset about anything. When we’re talking a major screwup in carrying out postwar reconstruction, or the promotion to a very important post of somebody who oversaw catastrophic technological bungling when in charge of a different agency, I don’t think we should just tick the cynicism valve up a notch and say “oh well, they all do it, we don’t know for sure who was directly responsible for it”, etc. etc. etc. At some point, isn’t it appropriate to start calling for some heads?

And yes, by all means, do feel free to express outrage and condemnation at Democrats too.

I won’t tell you that because it’d be untrue. I meant it to be sarcastic. However, Just because I make an off-hand sarcastic comment tho’ about the pervasive nature of government waste, doesn’t make me apathetic. Certainly a person can be sarcastic about something and still despise it.

And frankly, I’d be willing to bet, that I, as a true fiscal conservative - unlike some current presidents I could name (and there’s another O’Rourke plagiarism, so we’re even now on that score Kimstu), am more upset about government waste and incompetence than the average leftie 'round here. I just don’t think it’s effective, or reasonable, to immediately bloviate about the president. More often than not, a dispassionate and rational inquiry would reveal that he ain’t the real source of government waste and incompetence. I’ll admit that moving Hayden up the chain after these failures is suspect, but hell, that kinda shit happens in every boardroom across the world. Bitching about it is kinda like complaining about gravity.

Fer instance, I’m a member of CAGW - Citizens Against Government Waste - and have been for several years.

Not accusing me of being pro-Bush? How the hell could one interpret “Boy, is that the best the Bush-defenders can do these days” otherwise? It’s a pretty clear statement that you believe me be a reactionary and routine defender of Bush and his policies.

As I noted in that thread you linked, sure you guys can keep blaming the folks at the very top of bureaucratic org chart if you want, but real reform is only gonna come if you target the actual source of the waste - in that particular case the military procurement system.

Once again, blaming Bush is easy. And ultimately totally ineffective since Bush can’t really do anything about it. Not for the least reason that until the thing happens, he’s totally unaware of it. What the hell is so hard to understand about that? If one of my interns fucks up, I can’t do anything about it until after the fact, either. What I can do, is take steps to see that it doesn’t happen again. In Bush’s case, he can only, after the fact, propose a plan to Congress (because they approve the procurement rules) to try to make sure the stupidity is not repeated.

So I’m not even anti-anti-Bush, as you put it. All I was doing there was trying to show you guys that your outrage was misplaced. There’s plenty of things that can be laid concretely at Bush’s feet without reflexively bashing him for every action of every subordinate - most of them actions of which he’s gonna be totally ignorant of because that’s the nature of any large organization. And the reason I called the outrage “reflexive Bush bashing,” is because that’s what it is. Rather than analyzing the situtation to find the root cause, the idiot left prefers repeatedly, even when shown the futility of it, to attack the bureaucratic head - the presidency (who has, I will freely admit made an awful big target of himself). Way too easy, way too ineffective, way too partisan.

This is yet another misreading of my position and my statements. The reasons for which I believe it to be such are adequately explained above.

And among the things that can be “laid concretely at Bush’s feet” is his choice of a notably unsuccessful administration official for the crucial position of head of CIA, which is what this thread is about.

But you come in and wave that away as though you think the major technical screwups at NSA are just another “mismanaged government program” not worth getting upset over.

If we shouldn’t blame Bush for the serious mistakes his subordinates make (because that’s just “the nature of any large organization”), and we shouldn’t blame Bush for rewarding and promoting those same subordinates despite their mistakes (because “that kind of shit happens in every boardroom”), then what on earth are you saying we should blame Bush for? Mispronouncing stuff off the TelePrompter?

You’re not defending Bush, you’re just arguing that all the specific criticisms directed at him are misplaced or inappropriate or ineffective or unreasonable. I see.

Which, if true, isn’t a defense of Bush.

And even if not true, would still be a critique of your analysis of the facts. Not a defense of Bush.

It’s a pretty simple distinction.

Only nominally. The single statement from which that can be inferred, is the thread title - and then only in the loosest of manner. The remainer of the OP and the two articles linked are not about the promotion of an incompetent boob. They’re a litany of Hayden’s incompetently managed projects.

Seems to me, that if RTF wanted to specifcally lambaste Bush for promoting yet another incompetent boob, that would have been transparently conveyed at the outset. The guy’s not ever at a loss for words on the topic of Bush; in fact, in most cases he’s overly verbose.

I dunno what the avarage leftie around here thinks about government waste and incompetence. This particular leftie’s been a ‘true fiscal conservative’ since he was a Barry Goldwater conservative. I left the GOP with John Anderson when I realized that the ‘cut taxes, increase military spending, and expect the budget to be balanced by magic’ crew had taken over what used to be my party.

Even when I became a bona fide liberal in the last several years, I was just as much against government waste as ever - because if you want people to support a big government program like, say, universal health care, you’re not going to have a good argument for it unless you’re spending the tax dollars wisely that they’re already paying.

So let’s take the self-righteousness card out of it, okay?

He’s got an unusually strong track record of hiring fuckups, and being extremely slow to fire them, in those cases where he ever does. How is that not his fault?

Suspect?! Hell, it’s his signature move.

You’re saying that the free market doesn’t punish incompetence and waste? Okay, whatever.

Whatever problems there may be in the military procurement system, the people involved in it have something to do with how well or poorly it works. And if managers don’t care whether it works, it’s amazing how that filters down in an organization.

Everyone I’ve heard talk or write about the subject says that an organization takes its cues from the people running it. Giving Bush a free pass because he doesn’t make every last decision is bullshit. He hires the people who run the various Cabinet departments, and puts up with them after they fuck up.

What you’re saying is that the buck stops with the last guy who’s hands-on involved in decisions, which is a total crock. If you really believe that, you’re a bigger idiot than I previously gave you credit for. If you don’t, but choose to act like you do now, then you’re the Bush apologist I already gave you credit for.

The average lefty favors enlarged and new government programs. That’s a sine qua non of lefty-ism. Try not to be so thick. Maybe more like the meat in a deli sandwich than a filet cut.

Fine. I was only following the suit led.

I won’t disagree with you there. But at the risk of again being labeled at best apathetic, and at worst a Bush-defender, the government seems to me to be rife with fuck-ups. That be the nature of the spoils system that’s been in currency since the Jefferson administration. Pointing to the head and yelling at him ain’t gonna solve a problem that has a root cause lower down in the structure.

Not as effectively, or as efficiently, as I’d like. And even less so - apparently less so to the point of nullity - in the realm of politics.

That’s true enough. And kinda part of my point in that old thread. If the assholes managing and operating the procurement system at the lowest level don’t give enough of a shit to inform the guys up the line of the absurdities in it, then how’s the CEO, who’s even farther removed, supposed to know it doesn’t work as intended?

Which, once a-fucking-gain ain’t anything like what I’m saying. My entire point, which really is small enough to balance on your pointy little leftish head, is that we should properly lay blame for poor decision-making with the incompetent boobs who actually made the poor decisions. In this case, you have a legitimate gripe about the promotion (assuming he gets past the consent of Congress, which if he does, will also become complicit) of Hayden. Your larger bitch, it seems apparent to me, is that you wanna fault Bush for the specific mismanagement and poor decisions made by Hayden. And those cannot be legitmately laid at Bush’s feet.

Horseshit again. I ain’t saying that at all, you stupid fucking asshole. Read everything; not just what you wanna see. I specifically said the guys up the line (Bush in this case), are responsible for introducing a plan (again in this case to congress for their approval) which would prevent future fuck-ups of a similar nature.