September 15, 2016

The "working hard" meme — it's propaganda to cover for failure.



That's on the front page of the NYT right now. The link goes to an editorial:
Since becoming secretary of state more than three years ago, John Kerry has been a man on a mission — multiple missions, in fact — relentlessly traveling the globe.... [T]here has been something honorable, even heroic, about the persistence, hard work and faith in diplomacy....

Mr. Kerry sometimes displays a naïve belief in his ability to win people to his side if he keeps talking long enough....

To get the current cease-fire [in Syria], he warned Moscow that if the violence was not halted, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states would send more weapons to the rebel groups. He insists he is not being unrealistic, although he knows from past experience that Russia could be playing a cynical game and that the cease-fire could fall apart. But you can hear the anguish when he says that this “may be the last chance we have to save a united Syria.” He deserves immense credit for trying.
Work, work, work. Trying very, very hard.  Relentlessly traveling the globe.... But even your friends call you naïve and unrealistic. And do you think maybe Vladimir Putin might take advantage of your earnest strenuousness and play a cynical game? Let me take several days to think about that, because I'm sure putting more effort into the enterprise will be laudable... honorable, even heroic... and I will deserve immense credit for working so damned hard.

57 comments:

Skipper said...

Make work is not equivalent to work, and hard work is not equivalent to smart work or successful work.

Hagar said...

I think that east of Suez they look at the U.S. as Sears/K-Mart in the age of Amazon.

MadisonMan said...

I often get emails from students at the end of the semester, students who have done poorly in my class. But I worked really hard!

As if that should automatically get them an A.

tim in vermont said...

Maybe if we cut off the weapon flow into Syria, Assad and Russia could end it far less brutally? No, that would mean abandoning our "long term goals" in that country.

virgil xenophon said...

Good intentions? See: Hell, road paved with..

rhhardin said...

"He means well" is governs the judgment of women, call it foolishness. Men are skeptical. Both can be errors, but that's the gender bias.

It's how Obama got reelected.

pst314 said...

"Work, work, work"
--Governor William J. Le Petomane in "Blazing Saddles"

David Begley said...

Who takes the reputational hit when Iran tests its nukes?

NYT is already setting up JFK as Obama's scapegoat.

JAORE said...

A childhood friend had a hamster kept in a cage with a wheel. No one ever worked as hard as that hamster.

JAORE said...

Of course we don't know how many miles he has flown as SoS. That, IIRC, has been established as the new standard for accomplishments.

JAORE said...

"Who takes the reputational hit when Iran tests its nukes? "

Bush, of course, for invading Iraq.

Michael P said...

If you can't claim to have made the trains run on time, you can always claim you worked very hard. It's almost non-falsifiable.

Greg Hlatky said...

Isn't that Mme. Clinton's claim of accomplishment when she was Secretary of State, that she traveled a lot?

It's the Hammerstein-Equord class "industrious and stupid".

Crazy Jane said...

Pretty high praise for an empty suit.

Brando said...

Well, maybe wasting his time on the Middle East is keeping him from other mischief.

whitney said...

That "relentlessly traveling the globe" phrase is in the same vein of how Hillary was described when she had the same job. It would have been better if she had stayed home.

AprilApple said...

His daughter used State as a cash register, and Kerry helped Obama send millions of tax payer dollars to Iran. yay!

Danno said...

But Kerry, as James Taranto says, is haughty and French-looking, still has that hat.

EDH said...

All that "hard work" is hardly working.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Yazidi women being sold as sex slaves take great comfort in knowing that Kerry is working so hard.

William said...

I think the Middle East is an extremely fucked up place, and that it will continue to be a fucked up place for generations to come. When it's fucked up under Republcans it's because of the stupidity of Republicans and when it's fucked up under Democrats it's despite the hard work and nuanced skills of Democratic statesmen......Our difficulties with Russia used to be due to the stupidity of Republcans, and they could be resolved by the reset button and the smart diplomacy of Hillary and Obama. We now learn that our difficulties with Russia are due to Putin.

Michael McClain said...

I'm sure he clutches his magic boonie hat to his chest each night and marvels over how under-appreciated he is amongst the Great Unwashed of our country. To most, his only skill is marrying rich women.

traditionalguy said...

After watching Kerry give Iran whatever they demanded, what World leader would ever respect the USA again? But that was Obama's goal.

Bob Ellison said...

A friend of mine travels for work from the USA to various places in southeast Asia probably once a month or thereabouts. His company suggested that maybe he should re-locate there, and they even offered to move him and his family to Hawaii just so that he could cut down on travel time. So far, he hasn't done that, and he explained to me that he was used to the travel time and viewed it as an opportunity to rest and do work that was difficult in a hectic work environment.

Soooooo, my guess is Hillary got a lot of rest (and beverages) on all those flights. Kerry seems more temperate. He probably concentrates on rest and on how to pronounce names like Sergey.

Paul Snively said...

That's the Clintons for you: always expecting an A for effort.

William said...

There are more refugees, dead bodies, torture victims, and horrendously wounded children in the Middle East now than when the Democrats took over. What great bad luck for the Democrats.

John Tuffnell said...

Halp us Jon Carry. We R Stuk Here in Seeria.

As that wise little green Yoda man once said, "Do or do not. There is no try."

Jupiter said...

But you can hear the anguish when he says that this “may be the last chance we have to save a united Syria.”

Like, who gives fuck zero about a united Syria? It was a nice place when the Christians were running it, but it has been a shithole ever since the Muslims took it over, and the only way to fix it is to get rid of the Muslims. There are a lot of places like that. There are going to be a lot more if the West doesn't get its head out of its ass.

John Tuffnell said...

Maybe he should change tactics and raze villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan.

jaydub said...

He only has a few months to finish off the Middle Eastern basket of deplorables. So many Syrians to turn into body parts or refugees, so little time to git 'er done. He's just going to have to summon the will to power through!

Nonapod said...

John Kerry might be one of the most foolish and fantastically stupid people to ever hold the office of Secretary of State (and that's really saying something), and I believe that sadly history will prove that out. The repercussions of what he and Obama have sown may well be catastrophic.

bagoh20 said...

Yes, it's true - digging holes is hard work, and the burying stuff. Oi, with all the burying, and covering, and covering and burying!

Brando said...

I just don't think the interventionists ever made a good case for us getting involved in Syria in any way. Sometimes there are conflicts with no good guys and no good outcomes, and more importantly no realistic scenario where our getting involved will move matters in any way that benefits us or the region.

Obama said something about his policy being "don't do stupid stuff" but he hasn't been following that policy.

viator said...

It is universally acknowledged you should only measure effort not accomplishment. Measuring accomplishment is unfair and deplorable as well as "racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it".

JAORE said...

Ahhh, Massachusetts. The state that reelected Ted Kennedy and John Kerry year after year after year.

One a drunken, lecherous murderer. The other a buffoon of the first order.

But beloved in Mass., yes indeed.

Rick said...

whitney said...
That "relentlessly traveling the globe" phrase is in the same vein of how Hillary was described when she had the same job.


My first thought also. The job is travelling around the world?

When outsiders assume responsibility for an agreement it's a guarantee there won't be one. Same is true for Israel and the Arab countries. If we were interested in getting a deal done we'd tell the Arabs it's their problem. As long as they believe some future president might force Israel into a worse deal they'll hold out waiting for it.

Negotiating in the press is blowing your own horn, not solving problems.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Russia is involved in Syria because it sees an upside for it in doing so. They want Assad in power so that they can realize the upside. They can see that there is no downside because the US isn't going to do anything meaningful. So all of Kerry's to and froing is completely useless.

I wonder when the Russians first realized that the US government was being ran by a bunch of ignorant, idiotic, arrogant dumb-asses? The reset button?

Cheryl said...

I remember back when Kerry was campaigning for president. He was asked about his spiritual life, and he said he prayed "very hard." It was so strange that I immediately thought that he doesn't pray very much! It seems like doing anything "hard" is a ready-made excuse for failure. It's okay if you don't succeed, because you tried. Really hard.

Except that it isn't okay that these people aren't successful. We are counting on these morons to succeed. I don't really care how hard they work. As a matter of fact, I'd prefer it if they made it look easy!

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Bing reports that Kerry is 72 years old. A little to old to still harbor presidential ambitions for four years from now, but who knows. The US seems to have fallen into the hands of a corrupt geriatric oligarchy.

Gusty Winds said...

"A" for effort!

Gusty Winds said...

Hey. Maybe John Kerry should take James Taylor to Syria to sing a ceasefire serenade downtown Aleppo.

JRoberts said...

Maybe our recent Secretaries of State would be more successful if they travelled less and posted competent Ambassadors to key nations. Instead, Obama, Clinton and Kerry post cronies and donors who are clueless in their assignments.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Exactly correct, Michael P - non-falsifiable by design. It also plays into the "typical" liberal mindset that what matters are you intentions, feelings, and positions, but not the actual results.
That's the stereotype, right? The liberal talks about what the program is supposed to accomplish and who it's supposed to help and the conservative talks about the program's cost, likely "unintended consequences," and actual performance. That's the anti-liberal stereotype and a focus on "working hard" reinforces it.

chrisnavin.com said...

Who says plowing through the surf at 10 knots, trying to make a black-tie Kennedy function by dusk, all while cogitating on dock fees for the Ketchup Ca$h II isn't hard work?

'Arafat....'

'Is that a shark. That can't be a shark. Too cold.'

'Peace in our time requires conscious effort, soft voices speaking loudly, the sacrifice of all nations...'

'Will I have to get more Botox?'


Bruce Hayden said...

Some day, I would like to learn how Kerry got the job. Pretty sure that Crooked Hillary got it in trade for support for Obama by her and esp her husband in 2008. Neither was remotely qualified. I understand that Kerry wanted this job badly. But he really isn't that smart, and just flying around the world aimlessly just like Clinton did just leads to global warming, and not world peace. The one thing that he may have over her is that he is just a hard working incompetent, while she was that, plus was selling US foreign policy for Clinton Cash.

Comanche Voter said...

Good old hardworking Jean Fraud Kerry worked hard at managing a franchise cookie business in Boston--and failed.

The line of work he seems to excel in is the pursuit and marriage of wealthy women.

Stick to what you are good at John, and leave the rest of us alone.

n.n said...

Obama and Clinton secured Kerry's legacy in the refugee crises.

khematite said...

"Mr. Kerry sometimes displays a naïve belief in his ability to win people to his side if he keeps talking long enough...."

Just like his boss. But has "good cop, good cop" ever worked?

A to the C said...

I just hope Melissa Harris Perry doesn't hear of the Times inappropriately using the phrase "worked hard" to describe the efforts of an actual "privileged white guy." Got to be careful with that sort of thing!

Neo said...



"... Obama tried to tie Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to Russian President Vladimir Putin..."

I just read a piece over at Salon that complained that people making Putin out to be Beelzebub were hindering the ability of Secretary of State John Kerry to work with the Russians to find solutions for Syria.
In the last few weeks, the DNC and now President Obama are casting Putin as Beelzebub.

They complain when the Republicans pointed out that Russia was our major geo-political foe and then claim that Republicans are in bed with the Russians. Perhaps, they could make up their minds.

Biff said...

Leftism in practice: "Ignore the bloody mess around us. We're earnest and we mean well!"

Unknown said...

Work = Force x Distance. It doesn't matter how much effort he puts in, it's not work until something is accomplished.

Koblog said...

Kerry does EXACTLY what Obama tells him to do.

The NYT acts like Kerry is an independent operator.

The fall of Iraq, fall of Afghanistan, fall of Yemen, fall of Egypt, fall of Libya, fall of Syria, growth of ISIS (the "jayvee" team), fall of Turkey, the growth of Russian influence ("the 80's called and wants its policy back....") a nuclear Iran enriched by $1.7 billion they aren't owed, nuclear North Korea threatening the region, China expanding its borders and military:

All the heroic Obama/Kerry/Clinton.

Martin said...

I could hardly care less about how hard poor John Kerry works--what has he actually accomplished that is at all praiseworthy (and I specifically do NOT include the Iran nukes deal)?

Like HRC's main accomplishment as SecState was how many miles she racked up. Sorry, no.

Quaestor said...

Sisyphus is still working hard.

Neighborhood Retail Alliance said...

Hall of Fame coach John Wooden said it best to his players: "Don't mistake activity for achievement."

http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/47570-don-t-mistake-activity-with-achievement

Jonathan Graehl said...

"He's a hard worker" - faint praise.