Jim Geraghty, a columnist for the National Review Online, seems to think that President Obama is responsible for every single scandal or problem that has happened anywhere in the country for the last few years while he’s been in office, from the NFL’s handling of domestic violence to car company recalls. Why? Because he “set the tone” that allowed them to happen.
Does our president just reflect a broad cultural trend in the behavior of leaders, or does he set the tone from the top?
Consider some recent examples of leaders of large organizations with important responsibilities, once they find themselves in the public eye:
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told CBS This Morning he never saw the second tape of Rice striking his wife before Monday. He said, “when we make a decision we want to have all the information that’s available. When we met with Ray Rice and his representatives it was ambiguous about what actually happened.” Friday afternoon, he announced the league would be making a new effort in dealing with unacceptable player conduct . . . by forming a special committee.
Then there’s General Motors CEO Mary Barra, whose company has recalled 2.6 million cars with defective ignition switches. The faulty parts have been linked to at least 13 deaths and 54 accidents since 2009 and have led to numerous lawsuits. She said, “I don’t really think there was a cover up. I think what we had, and it was covered in the report, there were silos of information, so people had bits and pieces and didn’t come forward with the information or didn’t act with a sense of urgency, and it simply was unacceptable.”Did anyone at NBC News ever answer for the decision to hire Chelsea Clinton for $600,000 a year for three years?
Freedom Industries, that company that spilled ten thousand gallons of chemicals into the Elk River, forcing 300,000 residents to stop drinking, cooking, washing or bathing in their tap water, will face a ton of lawsuits. Their management and leadership has been hard to identify, much less hold accountable; apparently no one with the company feels the need to stand before the public and face the consequences of their actions and inaction.
That last one is particularly ridiculous. Somehow Obama is responsible for the behavior of the company that has spent huge sums of money to fight against the EPA’s regulation of their activities that might help prevent such spills. And this whole notion that the president “sets the tone” and therefore is responsible for every bad thing that happens is so ridiculous that no intelligent person could take it seriously. Indeed, Geraghty doesn’t even attempt to make a coherent argument for it.