Monday, September 12, 2005

When the passive voice no longer deflects responsibility....

...just deny the issue of responsibility at all.

QUESTION: Mr. President, there is a belief that we've been hearing for two weeks
now on the ground that FEMA let the people here on the ground down. And perhaps,
in turn, if you look at the evidence of what it's done to your popularity, FEMA let you down. Do you think that your management style of sort of relying on the advice that you got in this particular scenario let you down? And do you think that plays at all ...

PRESIDENT BUSH: Look, there will be plenty of time to play the blame game. That's what you're trying to do.

QUESTION: No, I'm trying to ...

PRESIDENT BUSH: You're trying to say somebody is at fault. Look -- and I want to know. I want to know exactly what went on and how it went on. And we'll continually assess inside my administration. I sent Mike Chertoff down here to make an assessment of how best to do the job. He made a decision; I accepted his decision. But we're moving on. We're going to solve these problems. And there will be ample time for people to look back and see the facts.

Now, as far as my own personal popularity goes, I don't make decisions based upon polls. I hope the American people appreciate that. You can't make difficult decisions if you have to take a poll. That's been my style ever since I've been the President. And, of course, I rely upon good people. Of course, you got to as the President of the United States. You set the space, you set the strategy, you hold people to account. But yeah, I'm relying upon good people. That's why Admiral Allen is here. He's good man. He can do the job. That's why General Honore is here. And so when I come into a briefing, I don't tell them what to do. They tell me the facts on the ground, and my question to them is, do you have what you need.
Which still doesn't explain why Michael Brown and Michael Chertoff still have their jobs, does it?

I especially like the idea that accountability excludes "solving problems," and that what is required now is "moving on," while lesser mortals discern, like medieval scholars, discern "what happened" and "who was at fault."

Governmental responsibility as the equivalent of determing the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin. Nice work for someone else, but not the province of the head of the Administrative branch of the United States of America. Apparently.

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