An alternative speech prepared by our nation’s 34th President, from years earlier when he commanded the most complex and daunting military operation in human history:
Our landings have failed and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
Not even a comma after the word “attempt.” Those are some balls, right there. Now, fast forward seven decades and ten presidents, we get…
The longer these cuts remain in place, the greater the damage to our economy, a slow grind that will intensify with each passing day. So economists are estimating that as a consequence of the sequester that we could see growth cut by over one half of 1 percent. It will cost about 750,000 jobs at a time when we should be growing jobs more quickly.
So every time that we get a piece of economic news over the next month, next two months, next six months, as long as the sequester’s in place we’ll know that that economic news could have been better if Congress had not failed to act.
I’ve been waiting for someone to go after this like a pit bull. If it’s happened, it’s escaped my notice, so we’re left just listening for Ike’s bones to rattle as he spins in his tomb.
The lack of ownership concerns me, and my concern increases when I think about the timeline. Obama’s presidency started off continuing smoothly from His campaign, blaming Bush for every little thing. This sales pitch became a parody of itself and, over time, seemed to subside. This suggested a message from the White House of “okay, that’s wearing a bit thin, let’s shift to something else.” So perhaps, four years in, we’d have our answer to the question of when Obama would start owning the results and the situations under His management. Couldn’t hope for an Operation Overlord “if there is blame it is mine alone” — but maybe a bit of “this isn’t working let’s try that other thing”? I mean for the sake of the nation, not for the sake of the democrat party or His campaign. I’ve seen He’s capable of this when it comes to campaigning. But He’s President of the United States, not President of the democrat Party or President of the Obama Campaign. Too much hope?
Evidently. Now we have another six months of, if this doesn’t go all wonderfully…or even if it does…”we’ll know that that economic news could have been better if Congress had not failed to act.”
This is more than a continuation of what came before. It is a whole new horizon in the sad, pathetic voyage of failing to take ownership, a brand new threshold to cross. Here is President Obama instructing us to believe — not spinning it this way, but actually telling us what to think, not even being shy about it — Republicans in Congress are to blame for everything going badly. And, if that isn’t enough of a kick in the gut, if things go awesomely then Congress is to be blamed for everything not being even better.
What if things go so well, that they cannot have gone any better? Do I even need to ask…all hail Economic Savior Obama. Gosh, it’s great being a subject in Emperor Barry’s kingdom. To think of all those frustrating years I spent trying to think for myself.
Over at our collaborative blog, CylarZ was noticing something about what I said there, also with regard to the President’s press conference. He found it to align with something from his recent personal experience:
If it isn’t your fault, you make it your fault. Really, that is what you do. For if it does not depend on you in some way, then what hope do you have for making it better?
That’s profound. I’m going to have to remember that. In fact, I think maybe this should be added to your “Things I Know” list.
…I should have asked more questions before jumping into the purchase…If I don’t “own” my screw ups and take responsibility for them, how am I going to avoid similar ones in the future?
Regrettable purchases are wonderful illustrations of how this all works. In any human conflict, it’s easy to say “I’m perfect in every way and the problem all has to do with that other guy.” But when it comes to getting fleeced, the wisdom just has a way of sinking in, along with the pain. Even those most jaundiced against the simple concept of taking ownership, really have to ask themselves: Okay, you did everything right, the other guy did everything wrong, now with the little-to-nothing learning from that sad episode, do you really want to go sliding on in to the next transaction? Really?
Winning is fun. Screwing up sucks. But if we don’t screw up, we don’t learn. That’s where the learning’s done. We don’t learn much when we win.
My son was having some problems with this about the time I was splitting up with his Mom. He began to sink a lot of his passions into this reprehensible anime cartoon with origins over in Japan, about a boy roughly his age who’d conjure up these strange-looking animals out of a ball. It seems in this universe, all the kids did something like this, they’d run around with these distinctive-looking spheres, they’d talk a bunch of smack at each other, and then they’d conjure up these creatures out of the spheres. Then the creatures would do all the fighting for the kids. The kid who owned the creature that won the fight would be able to gloat, and the kid who owned the vanquished creature would get all mopey and frowny-faced and butt-hurt.
Thursdays and weekends, when my son came over to my bachelor pad, I absolutely forbade anything to do with this perverse franchise from crossing my doorstep. Naturally, the day soon came when he wanted to know why, and I held nothing back: I said, it is my job to make you into a strong and self-sufficient man, by the time you come of age, and frankly I’ve seen a distinct drop-off in the attributes I’m trying to build in you, since you’ve gotten all invested in that awful cartoon.
It is equally accurate to say I’d seen these things recede since his parents split up. But, you know, ownership: His parents splitting up was not the boy’s fault. But the crappy cartoon certainly was.
Anyway, it had the desired effect. The kid wanted to know, what were these things he used to show in some measure, that had been falling off? So we made an acronym:
L is for Leadership
I is for taking the Initiative
C is for Creativity
O is for Ownership of your own problems
R is for Resourcefulness
I is for Ingenuity
C is for Courage and Conviction
E is for Energy
This was, thankfully, about the time the “new Star Wars prequels” were rolling out. So, after doing what we could to get out and have fun together over the weekend, and it was time to slide the take-n-bake pizza in the oven and watch what installments were available, we were able to talk about, wow, that Anakin guy whines exactly the same way as his kid Luke. Those Skywalker dudes seem to have some real problems with the O in their L.I.C.O.R.I.C.E.
And so, a pact was formed. He brings his damn L.I.C.O.R.I.C.E. And, I bring him what he needs to bring that. He was a bit unclear on the concepts there, and it is a father’s job to restore the clarity.
Some folks suffer the handicap of not having a father figure who could have restored that clarity, but by marshaling their own internal resources and making the right decisions, they manage to figure it out on their own.
I wish our current president was one of those people. Today, we, as a nation, would have more hope. As it is, it looks like we the citizens will have to bring the L.I.C.O.R.I.C.E. that He can’t seem to bring. I mean, I understand it can be frustrating dealing with a Congress and everything, I completely get that…but, does the average Obama friend/voter/fan realize that the 43 previous administrations also had to deal with unfriendly congresses?
You find a way to make it your fault, if it isn’t your fault already. If it isn’t your fault, what hope do you have to make anything better?