A growing trend in our society is the refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions. It’s easier to put the spotlight or blame on somebody or something else — anything but oneself.
The perfect “leader” for such a culture is Barack Obama. More than most politicians and more than any U.S. President to date, he is the epitome of the mentality of, “It’s not my fault.” And, by the way, it’s not your fault either — provided you support him. A characteristic of a dysfunctional relationship is the unspoken, but very real, trade between two people … to never speak of one another’s obvious flaws or evasions. The unarticulated bargain is, “I won’t point out your flaws if you won’t point out mine.” Many Americans who continue to support and like Barack Obama are in the political-psychological equivalent of such a bargain. “Barack says nothing is my fault. So I won’t criticize him, either.”
Consider a recent pre-Super Bowl interview Obama had with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly. In that interview, O’Reilly was a tiny bit — just a tiny bit — more willing to criticize Barack Obama than the majority of unthinking fawners who inhabit what passes for our media. For that, O’Reilly was reprimanded by the prince of unaccountability.
O’Reilly opened the interview by saying he wanted to get some things “on the record,” and the two ended up sniping back and forth for most of the interview. He asked Obama, point blank, why he did not fire Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius after the flummoxed rollout of his signature health-care law. “Why didn’t you fire Sebelius?” O’Reilly said.
He avoided a direct answer, but Obama said that people were being “held accountable.” O’Reilly subsequently questioned Obama on whether his promise that, “If you like your plan, you can keep it” was his biggest “mistake” as president. Obama used a football analogy at the end of this line of questioning, saying he was trying to not dwell on the “fumbles” and move on to the next play.
Telling people they can keep their health insurance, only to discover that millions could not? This is a mere “fumble”? In other words: It was an accident. It wasn’t really my fault, is what Barack is saying. Whose fault is it? Nobody is blamed, and those being “held accountable” will not be named, because they probably don’t exist. A president who will not hold himself accountable for his own words, and the consequences of his own policies and laws, is in no position to hold anyone accountable.
O’Reilly also asked Obama if he was told in the initial aftermath of the 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, that it had been a “terrorist attack.” “Your detractors believe that you did not tell the world it was a terror attack because your campaign didn’t want that out,” O’Reilly said. “That’s what they believe.” “And they believe it because folks like you are telling them that,” Obama shot back.
After some intense questioning about last year’s revelation that the IRS targeted certain groups, including conservative groups, for extra scrutiny, Obama took another jab at Fox News. ”These kinds of things keep on surfacing in part because you and your TV station will promote them,” he said. In other words: It’s all Fox News’ fault. Why? Because Fox News — sometimes — questions or challenges the actions of the American president. This is something that essentially none of the other major networks or publications do, for fear of being called racist, or perhaps out of fear of underming the president whose policies they so favor.
In his interview with O’Reilly, Obama acts like someone who’s accustomed to not being questioned, and has no problem with this fact. Indeed, he seems to feel he’s entitled to it. Obama has been lucky as a president. He wins every election and policy debate by default. Nobody on the opposing side is willing the make the case for capitalism, individual rights or private property. If anyone was, Obama would have to defend his policies and he might even lose the debate (if people are thinking clearly, at least).
Obama’s strength, if you wish to call it that, arises from the ideological weakness of his political opponents — and the personal weakness of his most loyal constituents. His alleged ideological opponents are afraid to defend tax cuts, spending cuts and the privatization of retirement/medicine required to salvage the economy and eliminate the national debt. They’re afraid of being seen as mean or immoral, so they let Obama get away with wrecking the country. Obama’s most loyal constituents have in office a man who does not ever need to answer for what he does, and who glibly, happily — not defensively — prides himself on this fact. It’s as if he saying, “Hey, look at me. The economy still sucks, my policies only make things worse, but I still get to be president.”
For those who cherish getting away with not being held accountable, Obama is their “hero.” When he gets away with it, well, there’s a sense that they will get away with it too. For the rest of us, who look for something very different in a leader or a hero, watching this man in office is a sad, often sickening sight.
Michael J Hurd
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