Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bush takes responsibility

Bush has taken responsibility for the failings of the Federal government in response to Hurricane Katrina. Curiously, one of the major charges leveled against Bush throughout his presidency has been that he refuses to admit his mistakes. Well now that he has gone out and done just that, the whole world seems determined to demonstrate why it is such a bad idea.

Just last night on NPR I heard a statement that literally made me gasp. I'm paraphrasing here but I remember the gist of it was "President Bush today accepted responsibility for the failings of the Federal Government in the response to Hurricane Katrina. This is a direct turnabout for the Bush administration which has sought until now to place blame at the city and state level." There, it's settled. It's all Bush's fault. No use wasting time talking about the state and local response, Bush did it all. Can we get on to the impeachment hearings yet?

In other circles we are told that Bush's acceptance of responsibility doesn't count because it is just a political move. Some people seem to insist that Bush taking responsibility for Katrina just goes to prove that he won't take responsibility for anything. And of course the inevitable calls for Bush's impeachment have surfaced.

Saner voices, however, are giving credit to Bush for buckling down and acting like a leader should. Smash points out that making this statement could not have been easy. I'll add that it was probably made a lot more difficult by aides who cautioned that any admission of culpability would likely draw the reaction that it has. Joe Gandelman agrees that this was the right thing to do. However, some of Bush's staunchest supporters are no doubt dismayed that he is ceding even a little bit of ground in this debate. Let's temper that a bit. Before he was elected I was never a big Bush fan. What eventually won me over was his willingness to say the tough things that needed to be said and then step back and let the chips fall where they may. That's exactly what he has done here. This was a tough thing to say. It will likely affect his image in the press and be used against him for political purposes. But it was the right thing to say and it needed to be said.

Let the chips fall where they may (and they will).


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