Even the most brilliant, historically proven governing strategies can come to grief. The Russian czars relied on a track record of dimness, bureaucratic idiocy and stubbornness to create mass fatalism. But that cocoon was breached by the disasters of the Great War. Russians who had put up with their rulers’ incompetence for decades had finally had enough.
Now we see our own triumphant incompetent, George W. Bush, continuing to reel from Hurricane Katrina. Sometimes even the most cynical public actually expects performance from its highest leaders. It may be premature to expect actual heads to roll, but it does seem like public tolerance for things like cronyism and inexcusable warmaking is, for the moment, greatly diminished.
For more on the strategic use of incompetence in the business, political and spiritual realms, see my article Compound Ineptitude, a theory of corporate incompetence. (Staying stupid means never having to say no.)