The Democratic Dearth of Competence


It is definitely true that all the Democratic candidates for President this year all have bad ideas (Bernie Sanders) or no ideas at all (everyone else). But the more germane fact about the sorry crop of Democrats on offer (even if you include Joe Biden) is that they have been fantastically bad at actually accomplishing anything. Perhaps the silver lining of this already bizarre and depressing election season is the hope that, even if a Democrat should win, none of the serious contenders show the slightest bit of ability at implementing an agenda.

About Hillary Clinton’s record – or lack thereof – little more needs to be said. She was essentially handed a Senate seat in New York, with which she did absolutely nothing in a single term. As Secretary of State, her term was noted for numerous, repeated ignominious policy failures that will primarily serve as general election fodder.

Joe Biden likewise has absolutely nothing of note to point to in the way of accomplishments despite having spent four decades in Washington in various capacities. Biden’s entire career consists of quixotic opposition to Republican foreign policy (except, it might be noted, the second Iraq war, which he supported). As Vice President, he hasn’t been at the forefront of any major policy initiative, except that Barack Obama has now put him in charge of the thankless task of selling the broadly hated Iran Deal, which ought to also work out great for any general election hopes that Biden might have.

Bernie Sanders likewise has spent forever in Washington accomplishing absolutely nothing, except perhaps for growing an astounding amount of hair from various orifices in his head (other than the follicles on his scalp). Sanders doesn’t even belong to the Democratic party, which is just as well for all the accomplishments he has authored on its behalf. The only two Democrats with actual records to run on (O’Malley and Webb) are struggling to crack a combined 5% in the polls.

By way of contrast, whatever you feel about the various ideological foibles of the various Republican candidates, the GOP field is littered with men of serious accomplishment. Even Donald Trump – as clownish and oafish as he is – has accomplished more than anyone on the Democrat side. Knock his style and his rhetoric all you want, he’s spent a lifetime getting things accomplished in the private sector. It’s of course an open question how well The Donald’s style will play as a chief governmental executive (I think it won’t play well) but at least it’s a serious question as opposed to a record of failure or insignificance.

Beyond Trump, the Republican field has five candidates (Walker, Christie, Bush, Perry, Jindal) who have performed the job of governor well enough to face their electorates and earn comfortable re-election. They also have three candidates with impressive private sector records that strip the Democrat field (Trump, Carson, Fiorina), and one with a record of legislative accomplishment (Rubio as former Speaker of the Florida House).

The Democrats who are running for President are definitely extreme in their views (especially about abortion) and clueless with regard to both economics and foreign policy. However, the job of being President is, at least properly understood, about competently implementing policy. And none of the Democrats running has any inkling how to do that.

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