“It was obviously a mistake” is an oft repeated theme

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson seems to be in the newspapers for all the wrong reasons these days. It does not bode well for the PM with people calling for his resignation. The latest challenge for him is the revelation he socialized with gatherings of people on a couple of occasions during a country-wide lockdown for COVID. Things have gone so poorly for him with Brexit advisors quitting, that he is probably glad Prince Andrew’s alleged philandering is stealing his headlines.

“It was obviously a mistake” is an oft repeated theme. This quote actually comes directly from US Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Cruz uttered said remark after vacationing with his family in Cancun, Mexico during a winter storm in 2021 that left millions of Texans without power and water. This was not the best of times to go out of the country with constituents down on their luck.

Cruz should have learned the lesson from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison who decided to proceed with a vacation in Hawaii at not the best of times back home. Some severe and large wildfires were burning with people losing their homes, animals and lives as he put more suntan lotion on to keep from burning his skin on the Hawaiian beaches. The press was none to kind. The fact that Cancun and Hawaii are exotic locations did not help their cause.

These stories rival the former US president who had several pep rallies during the COVID pandemic in 2020 where people got sick. In Tulsa, six of his staff members had COVID and it is believed former presidential candidate Herman Cain contracted it there and died. In the fall, the former president had a party in September where he himself may have contracted the disease among several others. But, the worst example is having pep rallies in February of that year without telling his biggest fans they were in danger, as he later confirmed he was aware of in an interview on February 7. Not only that, he naysayed the pandemic calling it a “Democrat hoax.”

We all make bad decisions. Yet, politicians are supposedly skilled at PR or have PR people to advise them not to do stupid things. To me, the worst examples are the last ones with the former US president as they were repeated offenses. And, they each trace back to assuaging a fragile ego with praise, in my view. He was tired of being criticized in Washington, so he wanted to bask in the glow of his biggest fans, who he placed at risk to hear their applause. Think about that.

As for the first three, these folks would crave a do-over. “It was obviously a mistake” is not something politicians like to utter.

28 thoughts on ““It was obviously a mistake” is an oft repeated theme

  1. “It was obviously a mistake” for the Conservative Party to choose Johnson as their leader, and for the dim-witted UK population to believe his lies and elect him as Prime Minister. I always thought this to be a triumph of ambition over ability, and he proves me right every single day. Ex-Prince Andrew is getting a bad press here but it is nothing compared with Johnson: in addition to those parties – sorry, work events – that you mentioned the past week has seen the revelation that there were two more parties in No.10 the night before the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, which have necessitated a grovelling apology today to the Queen. And earlier in the week the High Court adjudged the government to have acted illegally in its allocation of fast-lane contracts during the pandemic. Anyone with half an ounce of decency would resign.

    • Clive, of course, enough Americans voted the most deceitful acting person for president in 2016, only to watch him tally over 30,000 lies and betray his country, in my view. Yet, to see our British friends elect Boris Johnson was not a good day in the UK and he has shown that to be the case over the next few years. I saw a blurb on the other set of parties before Prince Phillip was buried. The question continues to be “Who told you this was a good idea?” Keith

      • Our electorates didn’t do us any favours in 2016, did they, you with the Presidential election and us with the referendum? I hope things continue to improve for you, and the mid-terms don’t destroy everything. Here, if Johnson goes his Party elect another leader: the rest of us don’t get a say until 2024.

      • Clive, true on all counts. If he goes, it would be nice to see a boring, competent PM. One of the drawbacks of focusing on the lying and bullying here, is the “equal parts chaos and incompetence” of the Trump White House was overshadowed. The quote comes from conservative pundit David Brooks. Keith

  2. Each in their context has humiliated the concept of good leadership standards, and these are those of which we are aware. In these times I am sure that other countries too suffer such fools. Generally the standards by which leaders hold themselves accountable have lowered. Exampling one, Mr Johnson’s grovelling ‘apology’ to the Commons in any other age would have been followed by a resignation.

    • Well said, David. It worries me about the stuff of which we are not aware. I think the Trump presidency is much worse than what meets the eye and what meets the eye is not very good. Johnson was so poorly thought of,the Brexit planning committee did not want his or Nigel Farage’s input. And, they were the two most visible Brexit proponents. Keith

      • As you say, the partisan way in which UK politics fractured over Brexit, mimicks US fracturing o’er Wuhan Virus and it consequences,
        not to mention the debaclé we are experiencing in Australia, directly traceable to federal government sluggardly ineptitude

  3. Note to Readers: VJ hit upon a key issue and that is the “non-apology apology.” This is where a politician does not admit wrongdoing, but basically apologizes for getting caught. My personal favorite is when Senator John Kyl was caught in lie and basically said it was the reporter’s fault for taking what he said as the truth.

  4. Found in today’s WaPo:
    “Here’s another unshakable rule of the Trump era: The same Republicans who insult us with the most transparently phony pieties about protecting the integrity of our constitutional system will sooner or later display bottomless contempt for our elections, for the law, and even for public service itself.” (Seems on topic.)

    • Becky, thanks for sharing this. The one dilemma is it speaks of the degradation in a future tense. As we speak, the current Republican party is already adrift, untethered to the truth and lawfulness. What veritas it had has been driven away. This is what happens when you vilify the truth tellers and elevate the liars. Keith

  5. Ted Cruz used similar language when he groveled before Tucker Carlson, who lambasted him for truthfully calling Jan 6 an insurrection. The man has no scruples.

    Those are not words we’ll ever hear from the former guy, however—no matter how abhorrent his behavior. His ego is far too fragile. He’ll blame others, but never take responsibility.

  6. Note to Readers: Now that Boris is in bigger trouble by partying the night before Prince Philip’s memorial, if he is not ousted, he needs to hire a “keeper.” This person’s job would be to stop him from doing inane things and to police his past actions looking for all of the faux pas to guard against and explain away. There are likely more than a few.

  7. Johnson’s apologies are as worthless as a tissue paper hat in a rainstorm.
    The fellow has made enough errors to have learnt lessons. Thus we are left with the impression that the only aspect he regrets is being caught out.

      • He is one of those characters who are not much voted for, but the alternatives were voted against.
        It should also be pointed out in 2019 election, the Conservative Party actually garnered less votes than the combination of the principal parties on the mainland of the UK (Northern Ireland’s politics cannot be included in the equation of votes for these purposes- they ‘do things differently’).
        Not dissimilar to the USA 2016 election.

      • Not surprising. Looking from across the pond, he would solicit the same reaction we did when we elected the previous president. “What were you thinking?” Johnson loved Trump around as he looked better by comparison. Now that Trump is gone, the spotlight is harsh.

      • When the political histories of our nations are viewed and we see results, such as the winner being voted in by a minority of the voting population, there has often been a collective shrug and a comment along the lines of ‘That’s Democracy for you’.
        However when the likes of Johnson and Trump are placed in office it does beg the question:
        Have the voting population as one body been taking the process for granted for too long?

      • Roger, I think you hit upon a key truth. Trump got elected because he got people who were lukewarm to Hillary Clinton to stay home, vote for Jill Stein or even vote for him as he knew some felt Bernie Sanders was cheated. It seemed right out of that famous Broderick Crawford movie “All the Kinds Men” where Crawford was coaxed into running to take votes away from the best competitor. Now, the GOP is using the Big Lie to suppress even more votes – that should matter to those who are being disenfranchised, but they don’t care as much as they need to. Keith

      • Voter logic can be curious Keith.
        So a person supports Bernie Sanders and is upset that Clinton beat him to the nomination. They decide in their passion they would rather risk the fate of their nation and themselves in the hands of a politically inexperienced person of dubious character and current poster boy of the very folk they do not want running the nation?
        The phrase ‘Go figure’ springs to mind.
        We have a similar situation here. Those loyal (still ) to Corbyn often announce in all sincerity that they will not vote Labour until he is back as leader…..Which is of great comfort to the Conservative Government (What would be a of great comfort would be having Corbyn bac).
        The time of Quixotic gestures is over and hard-nosed pragmatism to be the order of the day.

  8. Note to Readers: Reaching back to the not so distant past, one of the most inane faux pas was committed by Representative Anthony Weiner when he sexted a picture of his private part to a underage teen girl. He was convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor. Then, lo and behold, he did it again to another girl. Doing it a first time is beyond inane and shows very poor judgment. Doing it a second time…. He has truly earned this first sentence of his Wikipedia page:

    “Anthony David Weiner is an American former politician and convicted sex offender.”

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