This is what my dad calls "when the wheels fall off."
There's kind of a hubris thing here that satisfies the English major in me. The hero's arrogance is what eventually brings him down. Karl wasn't really a genius, he was just well-connected and willing to break the rules. McClellan wasn't any kind of press expert, he was just one of those dolls that has six different phrases for each time you pull the string. And they got away with it for a good long time, but there is something about true, deep, bad failure that spreads from the top down in any situation. Especially when the one doing most of the failing also fails at putting competent people in important positions.
I said this on Atrios the other day . . . everyone is good at something. Bush is good at failing. He's done it all his life, and you almost have to admire how good he's become at it. He's a virtuoso of failure.