Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Leader Takes Responsibility

I learned a long time ago that you to have to take responsibilities for your actions, that doing is harder than criticizing, and that you can't blame others for your circumstances or make excuses for too long. Sooner or later you have to hone up to your mistakes and be thankful for your successes. Nobody inherits perfect circumstances no matter what your walk in life. We all wish we could change certain things. Eventually we all have to come to terms with the things we can and cannot change and determine, within those constraints, a way forward.

The following quote from the Obama spokesman in a Reuters article made me realize the core reason why I have a sense that the Obama presidency is going to fail so miserably. The quote is an indication of a type of character.

"The White House sought on Monday to pin the blame for the grave state of the war in Afghanistan on the Bush administration, which made Iraq its top military priority. 'This was underresourced, underfunded, undermanned and ignored for years,' White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. 'The president is focused on ensuring that we meet measurable benchmarks. ... It's going to take some doing.'"

There's nothing particularly bombshell or out of character for that quote. I've been hearing the "it's Bush's fault" thing since Obama's campaign started well over 2 years ago. He owes Bush a great deal because in normal times there would be no chance a nobody like Obama could be president.

The problem for Obama is that it's now September 1. He's been president for a good amount of time now. He's building a track record. To blame Bush for the recent problems in Afghanistan is wrong and it's actually a lack of grace. The fact is that things happen in the world. It is not really Bush's fault that Afghanistan is heating up right now. Truth be told, it isn't necessarily even Obama's fault. Politicial leaders actually have less control over things than they think. It was cheesy and in poor taste to simply blame Bush. There was no need to blame anybody. Just deal with the situation as best you can. Why blame Bush, at this point?

The problem for Obama is that he doesn't appreciate that it's always easier to criticize as he did during his campaign. But after you're in office you begin, or should begin, to realize that it's actually a pretty tough job once you roll up your sleeves and make decisions within real constraints that don't lead to perfect outcomes. Obama should be realizing that by now. You would expect his appreciation for the constraints and real challenges Bush faced would humble him a little bit so that the nonstop criticism would at least be a little scaled back. But no. In the end, Obama is going to lose respect for this. Any man in any walk of life who endlessly criticizes deserves that fate.

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