The Speaker, with his feat of displeasing almost everyone in the debt-ceiling mess–the White House, Tea Party, GOP Senators, even the Congressional Budget Office–is earning his place in a volume that was in the making years ago to commemorate historic feats of mismanagement, “They Must Know What They’re Doing or They Wouldn’t Be Where They Are.”
It would have honored the Captain of the Titanic, Herbert Hoover in the Great Depression, LBJ’s handling of the Vietnam War, and Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis, among other monumental mishaps.
In this century, the list would include Heckuva Job Brownie’s work at FEMA during Hurricane Katrina and, of course, the Master himself—-George W. for the Iraq War. (The jury is still out on Barack Obama’s pyrrhic victory in health care reform.)
Garden-variety incompetence does not qualify a public figure for this pantheon. Stunning stubborness has to be compounded by a total lack of foresight and an unerring instinct to misread possible outcomes.