Responsibility and blame

Former Vice President and Senator Joe Biden has a couple of very positive TV commercials on what he will do as president. In the middle of one, he says the definitive line. Paraphrasing, he says:

I will take responsibility and not blame others for my actions.

That is a powerful differentiator between Biden and the current incumbent, who is unaccountable for any decision, action, statement or tweet gone awry. The lack of responsibility and accountability is not new to this president having acted this way all of his life.

Yet, the blaming of others is an equal recurring sin of the president. He must blame others. His fragile ego cannot tolerate criticism.

Whether it is Fauci, Tillerson, Powell, Mattis, Bolton, Obama, McCain, Pelosi, Romney, etc., blame must be heaped upon others, often with a large spoonful of name-calling.

Republican legislators running for office are realizing the weight of the Trump anchor. They are a tad late. In my view, he is the most corrupt and deceitful president in my lifetime, including Richard Nixon. But, even if he was not, he is a poor excuse for a leader, taking credit for anything good and blaming others for anything bad. In business, we used the word “Teflon” to define someone who would not accept responsibility for mistakes.

Let me close with a pre-election story. Trump introduced himself as a possible political candidate by repeatedly beating on President Obama with this “birther” conspiracy. Even after Obama released documents confirming his US birth, Trump and the birthers persisted. This went on for a couple of years. After it became an issue in the campaign, Trump had a press conference to come clean – he then blamed Hillary Clinton for the birther issue because someone had raised the conspiracy in her 2008 campaign, which she dismissed. So, the person who ran with the birther issue for a couple of years, weaseled out of responsibility and blamed Clinton,

There is a TV commercial of a little boy saying “I didn’t do it” throughout. When the over-70 year old president blames someone, think of this little boy.

Fauci speaks volumes in a few words

The modus operandi of the incumbent president is simple – say whatever is necessary to make himself look good, when the storyline no longer works, change the narrative, and blame others for failures and take credit for any successes. Perception matters more than reality, so actually solving problems is secondary to looking good.

In the past few weeks, with 67% of Americans not approving Trump’s handling of COVID-19, he has blamed the doctors who advise us, in particular, Dr. Anthony Fauci. His sycophants have joined him. Advisor Peter Navarro wrote a hatchet job on Fauci, but the push back was so severe, even the president did a little backstroke.

Yesterday, Dr, Fauci offered the correct response. The title of an article in Reuters, along with the first paragraph are all that is needed:

“Dr. Fauci: ‘Let’s stop this nonsense’ and fight the virus

Top U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci called the White House effort to discredit him “bizarre” and urged an end to the divisiveness over the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

To be frank, the US has a rudderless ship on the COVID-19 handling. Back in January and even early February, after being briefed several times by US intelligence leaders about the risks of the pandenmic, the president made a choice. Instead of being presidential forewarning us and planning ahead, he chose to naysay and misinform us about COVID-19.

In short, the ball was on the tee to lead us and the president whiffed. And, the misinformation continues to this day. Last night, on PBS Newshour, a report on the success of San Francisco’s China Town in keeping a lid on the virus was noted. The hospital and community leadership began planning the first week of February communicating needed preventive actions.

And, it has been successful. China Town leaders heeded mission one in a pandemic – tell people the truth. Pandemic or not, the truth is a commodity to the president. In short, taking the president at his word is a fool’s errand.