Peggy Noonan has it just right when she writes:
The president, as usual, acts as if all of this is totally unconnected to him. He’s shocked, it’s unacceptable, he’ll get to the bottom of it. He read about it in the papers, just like you.
Lately, when I watch the president act like no one tells-him-anything-why-he’s just-a-shocked-observer-of-his-government-and-its-agencies-and-he-sure-hopes-someone-gets-to-the-bottom-of-whatever-it-was-happened–because-really-he’s-all-about-creating-jobs-and-impeded-by-these-distractions, all I can think of is Mr. Chow, from “Hangover”, and the disdain in his dismissal.
But it is Obama’s “pro’lem”; whether he wants it to or not, the buck stops with him.
You know, a family member is having some anxiety dreams right now, because he is managing a project whose schedule may not be met. Because he is always careful, he wrote time into the schedule for unplanned, unforeseen events occurring, but a ball was dropped, far below in the production chain, and it is impacting everything. Now a deadline is approaching, and — due to circumstances completely beyond his control, because they involve other people in other departments (sometimes in other companies) — he may not be delivering by date-due.
If the project is late, it won’t really be his fault; it won’t be because of anything he did or did not do. So why is he anxious?
Because regardless of whether or not he is directly responsible for a failure, it’s his name on the project; he is responsible for all of it, even the stuff he never actually touches. The buck must stop somewhere, and in this case — because he is in a responsible job, (and he sought out that responsible job because he wanted it) — the buck stops with him.
And since he works in the private sector, not for the government, he will be held accountable.
It’s not the most comfortable truth in the world, but it’s also not unreasonable. The guy in charge is the guy in charge, not some other guy, somewhere else. Accountability is his.
Writing in the WSJ today, Kim Strassel suggests that Obama does have some direct culpability, at least in the IRS story:
President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an “independent” agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.
But that’s not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn’t need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he’d like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do. “He put a target on our backs, and he’s now going to blame the people who are shooting at us?” asks Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot.
Read it all.
The IRS Scandal; the AP records scandal; the Benghazi-video-no-calling-on-FEST scandal; the undernoticed Sebelius Healthcare Strongarm scandal — they are all pro’lems, for the whole country — they make us feel insecure, uncertain, vulnerable, unable to trust; disrespected.
But before they’re our pro’lems, they’re the president’s pro’lems. He is as accountable as anyone who ever lobbied for a position of power and responsibility, and then had to see the buck land.