Anyway, I want to kick off the campaign for this year's word right now.
kakistocracy (kak·is·toc·ra·cy) n.
Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.
I wonder if you can guess my inspiration?...
Housing Sec. Canceled Contract Because Contractor Criticized Bush, Apparently Violating Law
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson publicly admitted that he canceled a government contract with a business because the CEO was critical of President Bush. From the Dallas Business Journal:
“He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years,” Jackson said of the prospective contractor. “He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something … he said, ‘I have a problem with your president.’
“I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘I don’t like President Bush.’ I thought to myself, ‘Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn’t be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don’t tell the secretary.’
“He didn’t get the contract,” Jackson continued. “Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president? [...]”
Jackson’s conduct appears to be in violation of federal law. From the Federal Acquisition Regulations, 48 CFR 3.101-1:
Government business shall be conducted in a manner above reproach and, except as authorized by statute or regulation, with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none. Transactions relating to the expenditure of public funds require the highest degree of public trust and an impeccable standard of conduct.
Jackson has admitted that this particular contract was not awarded with “impartiality.” The business that would have been awarded the contract was excluded because of the contractor’s political views.
The Competition in Contracting Act (41 U.S.C. 253(b)(1)) details the six circumstances in which a particular contractor can be excluded. Needless to say, political views are not on the list.
It is also highly unusual for a cabinet secretary to be involved in the awarding or cancellation of a particular contract. More on this story soon.
Now I am certainly not naive enough to believe that contracts are awarded with "complete impartiality." What gets me is not the cronyism and favoritism—it's the brazen manner in which this Administration conducts it. I mean, the Cabinet Secretary went out and bragged about cancelling a contract—a contract that had already been awarded—because the guy didn't like President Bush. By that standard, I guess that means the government will only be soliciting contacts from 30% of the country from now on...
Seriously though, this was completely wrong and appears to be a violation of the law, as well as this business owner's First Amendment rights. Jackson should be removed. Now.
So it starts here and now. Let's spread it like a dialectic pandemic. Far and wide across the country. I want it on the Daily Show (God, that would be great) Kakistocracy. What makes this even more fun, is that this word is pretty obscure, let's make it known and make it synonymous with the Bush Administration.
[h/t: Otto Man for the story, and IRod (in the comments) for the word.]
UPDATE: The official defense of Jackson has been released — he was lying. Yes. That's really what they are serving up as the cover story, "He made it up."
UPDATE 2: From a commenter at Kos:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kakistocracy is derived from the Greek kakistos, the superlative of kakos (κακός) meaning bad. The word literally means "government by the worst elements of society." It can refer to any system of management controlled by the least competent, least qualified, most unreliable, or the most evil members of a society.
Kakistocracy is not used to describe governments run by persons whose primary motivation is graft---the word for that is kleptocracy. However, the two are not entirely mutually exclusive, as it is possible to be both bad and greedy.
You bet. George W. bush works hard to prove it every day!
UPDATE 3--06/06/07: Last week during the Scripps National Spelling Bee, there was a young girl from Madison, WIwhose profile revealed that her favorite word was "kakistocracy." Needless to say, from that point on, she was the one I wanted to win—even though there was a kid from the town I grew up in (Avon, CT) still in contention!
Twelve year old, already politically aware, badass rebel girl vs. a bunch of über-nerd boys? No contest. My girls are going to follow in her footsteps...
Welcome to anybone else who clicks over from a Google "kakistocracy" search. Look around a bit, there's a few years worth of me ranting about all sorts of stuff.