No-Account Leadership

In a recent Washington Post interview, President Bush was asked why no one has been held accountable, “either through firings or demotions, for what some people see as mistakes or misjudgments” about the postwar process. Bush answered:
Well, we had an accountability moment, and that's called the 2004 election. And the American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me, for which I'm grateful.
Ever the artful dodger when it comes to tough inquiries, Bush did not, in fact, answer the question that was asked. Instead of acknowledging that he was being directly challenged on his management skills, he used it as an opportunity to once again reassert his alleged mandate—this time invoking it as a bulwark against accusations of wrong-doing. No longer can he be questioned; the American people have condoned his every decision by reelecting him.

Though the most obvious problem with this assertion is the almost equal number of people who voted against him, which should have handily squashed any notion that he was provided with immunity, the more infuriating issue is his insistence on refusing to hold accountable any of his inner circle, particularly in light of his willingness to blame anyone and everyone else for anything possible. (If you think I’m exaggerating, type “Bush blames” into Yahoo, and see the number of hits you get, all stories about the president blaming one group or another for various failings for which he is reluctant to accept responsibility.) He is eminently willing to hold accountable anyone who has no direct connection to himself, but the closer you get to him, the less likely you are to be on the receiving end of an accusatorily pointed finger.

Bush flatly refuses to hold himself accountable for anything (even though he is clearly capable of recognizing the role of president as a buck-stops-here position, having blamed Clinton for a plethora of problems, starting with his “inherited recession”), and because he sees his cabinet and advisors as extensions of himself, they, too, are immune from accountability, lest it be traced back to him. A lack of guilt by association.

What he fails or refuses to acknowledge is that in voting him in as President, the American people imbued him with the right and the responsibility to hold accountable those who make decisions that are bad for America. Elections are not meant to be, as the president clearly believes, simply referendums on amnesty for all past transgressions. The problem is, this election, that’s exactly what it turned out to be, because the man who was elected has chosen to interpret it thusly. And he generously extends the perk to those who surround him.

Despite his claim to the contrary, President Bush was not granted the authority to run wild with his pack of loyal lapdogs, impervious to criticism or complaint. Accountability in government does not peak in a single moment, as he would have us believe, but should instead be an ongoing process as policies unfold. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though our blameless leader will be doling out anything but accolades for the foreseeable future.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus