President Peter Principle

Worth Readingby Tim Dunkin

Typically, I try not to write when I’m angry about something. This week, however, that is proving to be well nigh impossible. How can I not be just a bit miffed about the way our ostensible President has been handling the oil spill crisis currently taking place in the Gulf of Mexico? Perhaps it is because I don’t suffer fools lightly, but the stunning, nay, mindboggling incompetence emanating from our government, and especially its executive branch, is pushing me past even my expectations for governmental ineptitude.

The “Peter Principle” is a well-known principle of hierarchical organizations. At its simplest, it basically says that within any organization, every employee will rise to his or her level of incompetence. Essentially, each employee will perform their work well and will be promoted within the organization up until they reach the position where they are no longer capable of competently performing the tasks assigned to them, at which point they will not be promoted further.

For President Obama, we have (unfortunately) discovered his “Peter Point,” so to speak. He was quite capable of performing tasks in the various and sundry positions he had occupied before attaining to the Presidency. Community organizer? Of course, he was quite good at race-agitation and shaking down local businesses for more free goodies “for the community.” President of the Harvard Law Review? He did well there, by all accounts, though he seems to have failed to contribute any academic work of his own. But he did fill space and he kept the Review “balanced,” which is as much as we can ask for, I suppose. State Senator in Illinois? Hey, there’s nothing in the employment manual that says you can’t vote “Present,” right?

Unfortunately, at some level between “State Senator from Illinois” and “President of the United States,” Barack Obama’s Peter Point was crossed. Where exactly that level was, we’ll never know, since in 2008, America took the unprecedented step of electing to its highest office a man with no previous executive experience, no familiarity with responsibly running any sort of organization that needed to be profitable or successful to stay afloat, no readily identifiable background, and possibly even no birth certificate. That’s like taking the kid in the mail room and promoting him to CEO. Step back a minute and think – maybe this guy needs a little experience under his belt, to at least see what he’s good at? More: