Whatever Happened to the Peter Principle?

 

MarieHarfI turned on the TV last night just in time to catch Megyn Kelly’s calm evisceration of State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf. You’ve seen Harf: The young blonde with big glasses who clumsily lies about Obama’s foreign policy with all the gravitas of a cashier at The Gap.

Harf usually appears when State’s usual spokesperson is indisposed. Jen Psaki also has a CV filled with cringeworthy gaffes, most famously the hashtag diplomacy photos that forced Putin to return Crimea to Ukraine.

 

Wait, I think Putin kept Crimea. But just wait until Jen gets her “Yay Ukraine” Pinterest board going.

Yesterday also featured IRS commissioner John Koskinen grinning like a creepy leprechaun as he deceived, inveigled, and obfuscated about the agency’s “lost” emails. As average Americans catalog each pay stub and lunch receipt in fear of an audit by the merciless tax collectors, the IRS boss was smugly indifferent when questioned by elected representatives.

How do such weak, feckless non-entities get so far in the federal bureaucracy? In the real world, highly skilled engineers, accountants, developers and other workers are putting in 70-hour weeks and still getting laid off. Meanwhile, dithering incompetents in D.C. preside over failure after failure only to receive huge bonuses to augment their six-figure incomes and spruce up their regal homes.

If any one of us had fallen on our faces like Koskinen, Psaki and Harf (there’s a law firm you’d never hire), we’d cringe from the embarrassment the rest of our lives. But these three pop up the next day with their ignorant grins, vacant stares and unmerited condescension. No one likes an arrogant success, but even worse is the arrogant incompetent. Why is our political class is so full of them?

If Harf was forced to earn her way in the private sector, I’m thinking her uniform would look something like this:Harf

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  1. Nick Stuart Member
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    I would disagree that Koskinen is a weak, feckless, non-entity. He’s smirking because he knows nothing is going to happen to him as long as Obama’s president, and never if a Democrat wins in 2016. He knows eventually this IRS scandal will blow over, because the Republicans lack the will and moral courage to do anything about it even if by 2017 they are in control of both houses of Congress and the White House. He’s been around, he’s a player, he’s an allrightnik.

    You’re completely correct about Harf and Psaki however, although they doubtless will be able to spin their turns at State into a profitable life in the government and non profit sectors where they’re, you know, not actually responsible for, like, producing anything.

    • #1
  2. Fastflyer Member
    Fastflyer
    @Fastflyer

    “If Harf was forced to earn her way in the private sector, I’m thinking her uniform would look something like this:”

    What a slur on hard working, honest corn dog slingers!

    • #2
  3. Carol Member
    Carol
    @

    I think the comparison was very unfair to the cashiers at the Gap, who seem gunuinely concerned about how I am today, and whether I found everything I was looking for.

    • #3
  4. Palaeologus Member
    Palaeologus
    @Palaeologus

    That is an excellent headline, Jon.

    • #4
  5. tabula rasa Member
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    Fastflyer:

    “If Harf was forced to earn her way in the private sector, I’m thinking her uniform would look something like this:”

    What a slur on hard working, honest corn dog slingers!

    Ditto.  Harf does make Carney and Psaki look like a combination of Mother Teresa and Tony Snow. 

    This little tidbit from her official State Department bio speaks volumes:  “Prior to joining the State Department, Ms. Harf served as a senior advisor to and press spokesperson for Chuck Hagel during his confirmation to be Secretary of Defense.”

    • #5
  6. user_1561 Member
    user_1561
    @

    I think you’re forgetting what matters when it comes to plum political appointments. In descending order of importance:

    For whose campaign did you professionally flack most recently?
    At which Ivy League institution were you awarded your Strategic Communications and/or Political Science and/or Social Justice Studies degree?
    At what age did you watch your sense of shame drown as you held it under the waters of your political ambition?
    Do you help us meet a gender quota?
    Do you help us meet a race quota?
    Do you have any useful skills?
    There’s a bonus question I can’t mention in mixed company that has propelled the Lis Smiths of the world to six-figure salaries, important-sounding titles, and acclaim from The New York Times.

    • #6
  7. Little Ricky Cobden Member
    Little Ricky Cobden
    @LittleRickyCobden

    Give the ladies credit. They do manage to make Obama look smart.

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Jason Hart:

    I think you’re forgetting what matters when it comes to plum political appointments. In descending order of importance:

    For whose campaign did you professionally flack most recently?
    At which Ivy League institution were you awarded your Strategic Communications and/or Political Science and/or Social Justice Studies degree?
    At what age did you watch your sense of shame drown as you held it under the waters of your political ambition?
    Do you help us meet a gender quota?
    Do you help us meet a race quota?
    Can you get here by yourself?
    Do you have any useful skills?
    There’s a bonus question I can’t mention in mixed company that has propelled the Lis Smiths of the world to six-figure salaries, important-sounding titles, and acclaim from The New York Times.

     FIFY.

    • #8
  9. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    If any one of us had fallen on our faces like Koskinen, Psaki and Harf (there’s a law firm you’d never hire), we’d cringe from the embarrassment the rest of our lives. But these three pop up the next day with their ignorant grins, vacant stares and unmerited condescension.

    After watching the circus last night, the most offensive person in the room easily had to be the lovely Eleanor Holmes Norton. Arghhh….

    • #9
  10. Metalheaddoc Member
    Metalheaddoc
    @Metalheaddoc

    “Harf” and “Psaki” sound like bodily function noises I make when they, like, ya know, totally speak truth to  power and stuff. fer sure.

    • #10
  11. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    It’s also difficult to take any Valley Girl seriously who pronounces “couldn’t” and “shouldn’t” as “could-ent” and “should-ent.”

    • #11
  12. user_82762 Thatcher
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Jon,

    Warn the World!  Warn the World!  I knew they’d finally find our galaxy.

    IT’S THE INVASION OF THE SPACE CADETS!!!

    AAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHH…totally…..AAAARRRRGHHHH!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Ms. Harf said “we’ve been really clear” so many times that she should be translucent at the very least by now.

    • #13
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Fun with Punctuation!
    @statedepts_pox

    • #14
  15. MLH Member
    MLH
    @MLH

    Jason Hart:

     There’s a bonus question I can’t mention in mixed company that has propelled the Lis Smiths of the world to six-figure salaries, important-sounding titles, and acclaim from The New York Times.

     Oh, come on Jason. Do tell! You’re amongst friends. 

    • #15
  16. MLH Member
    MLH
    @MLH

    Metalheaddoc:

    “Harf” and “Psaki” sound like bodily function noises I make when they, like, ya know, totally speak truth to power and stuff. fer sure.

     “Harf”: the sound my cat makes when harfing up hairballs. 

    • #16
  17. MLH Member
    MLH
    @MLH

    EThompson:

    It’s also difficult to take any Valley Girl seriously who pronounces “couldn’t” and “shouldn’t” as “could-ent” and “should-ent.”

     May have stolen it from us coastal kids except I don’t often pronounce the “d”. Fortunately,  I doubt you’ll ever have to take me seriously. 

    • #17
  18. Not JMR Member
    Not JMR
    @JanMichaelRives

    I confess, I did not know who Marie Harf was before your post, and I was so incensed by her stupidity that I tried to look up her story on wikipedia. Wouldn’t you know it, she’s such an embarrassment that her page has been administratively deleted! Okay, well, there’s still the State Department biography.

    “Ms. Harf received her Master’s degree in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia, where her thesis evaluated the prospects for continued regime stability in Saudi Arabia. She graduated with honors from Indiana University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science with concentrations in Jewish Studies and Russian and Eastern European Studies.”

    So… a lot of beer pong?

    • #18
  19. Not JMR Member
    Not JMR
    @JanMichaelRives

    I then found her wedding announcement in the NYT:

    “Ms. Harf, 30, is keeping her name. She works in Chicago … for President Obama’s re-election campaign. Before joining it, she was a spokeswoman for the CIA. 

    The bride’s father is the associate vice president and the director of the Center for Global Education at Maryville University in St. Louis. He is also a professor emeritus of political science at Ohio State University in Columbus. Her mother is the director of the University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio, a statewide organization in Columbus that supports clean energy research.

    Mr. Lucas, also 30, is completing a master’s degree in law and diplomacy at Tufts University. He graduated magna cum laude from Yale.

    The bridegroom’s mother works in Concord, N.H., as the advocacy director for New Futures, a nonprofit organization that combats alcohol and drug abuse. His father is a lawyer for the State of New Hampshire Office of Legislative Services in Concord.”

    I love the fact that the parents on both sides are stock character politically-connected liberals: academic/lawyer dad+nonprofit director mom. They’re carbon copies of the Underwoods from House of Cards.

    • #19
  20. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Government is the opposite of the commercial sector. One is promoted based on incompetence rather than promoted until found incompetent at the next higher level.

    • #20
  21. user_50776 Member
    user_50776
    @AlKennedy

    Jon, I would add Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to your collection of Obama luminaries for his testimony regarding the humanitarian disaster caused by the influx of children from Central America.

    • #21
  22. profdlp Member
    profdlp
    @profdlp

    Arahant:

    Government is the opposite of the commercial sector. One is promoted based on incompetence rather than promoted until found incompetent at the next higher level.

     That explains the Obama presidency right there.

    • #22
  23. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    EThompson:

    It’s also difficult to take any Valley Girl seriously who pronounces “couldn’t” and “shouldn’t” as “could-ent” and “should-ent.”

    I once was a judge in an undergraduate moot court competition. One of my co judges was an old-school litigator. He went off on some kid (from a NY school) whose speech was full of that neo-Cockneyism. Paraphrasing greatly: “Do you think jurors will give any credibility to an attorney who sounds like a moron? A judge does not want to subject his courtroom to that indignity…”

    In some parts of CT, that particular speech defect (called a “glottal stop”) has an older lowbrow pedigree than its use with the Valley Girl vocal fry/uptalk badge of vapidity that many women under 40 wear with ignorant pride.

    To stomp out “Connecticut Cockneyism”, it should be a requirement for high school graduation in CT to be able to pronounce: “I took my kitten, Mittens, from Clinton to New Britain.”

    The glottal stop before the n’t seems to have different usage distribution than the basic Connecticut Cockneyism. It may partially be infiltrating from ebonics; it may partially be an artifact of vocal fry/uptalk. The glottal stop allows the vocal fry speaker to catch her breath and provides the opportunity to then uptalk the n’t.

    • #23
  24. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    I am developing a love/hate relationship with Jon Gabriel’s posts.

    I love them because they are sharply written and often express what is on my mind – only a lot clearer.

    I hate them because, like this particular post, they too often remind me just how screwed we all are, thanks to the political class running the country.

    • #24
  25. Spin Member
    Spin
    @Spin

    At no point should the Administration put someone’s kid sister in front of a camera in her grammas play glasses.  This is what happens.

    • #25
  26. user_370242 Member
    user_370242
    @Mikescapes

    The sad thing is she probably believes it. I hoped this was an advocate with a bad case. But, no, she’s the kind of syncophant Obama surrounds himself with. Not just a yes man/woman, but a fanatic to the cause.

    • #26
  27. MLH Member
    MLH
    @MLH

    When I first read this post the photo of Psaki wasn’t up. Now that I see it. . .uuhmm. . . Really? Children are running the most powerful nation in the world?!?!?

    • #27
  28. Mark Belling Fan Member
    Mark Belling Fan
    @MBF

    These mediocrities (Harf & Psaki) need to follow the tried and true strategy if they ever want to climb up to positions of real power and authority.. They need to marry a man that becomes president.

    • #28
  29. MikeHs Member
    MikeHs
    @MikeHs

    Figures that she was a Wahoo grad student (and my apologies to right-thinking, homegrown  Wahoo’s on here who are no doubt exemplary representatives of the Commonwealth).

    • #29
  30. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    My favorite part was when she declared herself an expert because she has been in National Security and stuff a “long time.”

    The quote:

    Having been in, in this business and national security for a long time now including the intelligence community, I know, I’ve seen what these guys go through out there and have the utmost respect for them.

    Juicebox mafia indeed.

    • #30

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