In today’s America real accomplishment doesn’t much matter any more. What matters is saying that someone is accomplished. The same applies to saying that someone is smart. It doesn’t matter that said individual has never accomplished very much or has ever done anything to demonstrate superior smarts. It’s true because everyone says its true.
Some might call it clever PR, but it feels more like propaganda.
Yesterday, Mark Steyn addressed the meaning of the words “smart” and “accomplished,” especially as they apply to Anthony Weiner’s wife and Hillary Clinton’s bff: Huma Abedin.
By universal consent, Huma Abedin is “smart, accomplished” (the Guardian), “whip-smart” (The Week), “accomplished” (Time), “smart and accomplished” (the Daily News) — oh, and did I mention “accomplished” (Forbes)?
A stickler for correct reasoning, Steyn then asks:
So, if she’s so smart, what has she accomplished?
Or better, one might ask what qualifications she brought to her job in the first place.
Be that as it may, Abedin is currently on leave from her sinecure as head of the Hillary transition. Beyond that, she has not amassed a very impressive resume:
She was Hillary’s right-hand gal in the 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination. Which Hillary lost. So not much of an accomplishment there. Subsequently, she was deputy chief of staff at the State Department, a job so demanding she latterly combined it with some private-sector consulting. What accomplishments does the State Department have to show for the Clinton-Abedin years? Secretary Clinton, as her supporters like to brag, “traveled a million miles.” “One is always nearer by not keeping still,” wrote the poet Thom Gunn. So Mrs. Clinton flew a million miles — to “reset” our relationship with Russia, and lead from behind in the Arab Spring. This weekend, America’s embassies in Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, and a bunch of other places will be shut down because everybody hates us. Meanwhile, Putin has embraced the first American defector to Moscow in decades, and is all but egging Obama to pull out of the G20 Summit and the insufficiently LGBT-friendly Russian Olympics. As Hillary in her more reflective moments must surely wonder about those million miles, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”
If Abedin is smart and accomplished, Hillary will be portrayed as brilliant beyond reason and possessing an excellence that no other human being has every shown. She will be touted as a genius who “reset” relations with the rest of the world, managed the Arab Spring skillfully and restored respect for America around the world.
That's not meant to be humor. The media will become so completely saturated with such nonsense that you will feel compelled to assent, lest your be shunned from polite society.
Be that as it may, Abedin’s hapless husband matches her in the world of non-accomplishment:
What accomplishments does Ms. Abedin’s husband have for his lifetime in “public service”? Other than the $3 million Park Avenue apartment that mysteriously came his way after his enforced return to the private sector. Carlos Danger’s pitch to the electors of New York is that they need him: His gifts are so extraordinary, his talent so prodigious, his skill set so indispensable that, like all great men weighed in the scales of history, he must be taken, as Cromwell said, warts and all. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Yet his time in Congress left no trace whatsoever. The most ridiculous thing about Anthony Weiner is not the tumescence of his Tweets but the flaccidness of his résumé.
Steyn does not stop there. He dares ask exactly what our president and first lady accomplished before they took over the reins of government. Again, the record does not really sustain the labels of “smart” and “accomplished.”
[President Obama is] “smart” and “accomplished,” too. He had a million bucks of elite education — Occidental College, Columbia University, Harvard Law School — and became a “community organizer.” His wife went to Princeton and became a 350-grand-a-year diversity-outreach coordinator, a job so vital to the University of Chicago Hospitals that when she quit to become first lady they didn’t bother replacing her. This is what it means to be “smart” and “accomplished” in the hyperpower at twilight.
It is not, Steyn concludes, a good sign. Americans no longer have a sense of value. It’s almost as though our language is suffering from inflation. As long as the government and media say that it’s money, it’s money.
Americans no longer recognize the value that you earn by actually accomplishing something. It’s a form of magical thinking. You think it; you make everyone say it; ergo, it’s true.
But nobody adds lack of value like America’s present leadership class — diversicrats, community organizers, and “power couples” comprising somebody handling the transition of a government official and somebody handling the transition in his boxers. If this is “smart” and “accomplished,” no wonder Putin’s laughing his head off.