There hasn’t been a campaign book from President Obama this time around to gleam composite girlfriends and doggie dining memories from, but if ghostwriters are searching for a title to sum up his first term, “The Audacity of Whining” would be a pretty good one.
Since his election, many of us have been hoping that Obama would stop whining about the mess that his predecessor left him, dump his Keynesian economic ways and actually work to fix the economy. It goes without saying that there has been a lot more audacity than hope and a whole lot of whining—which makes what Obama acolyte Rahm Emanuel said Sunday on George Stephanopoulos’ ABC News show all the audacious.
Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff and current mayor of Chicago, was defending Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, who said that Mitt Romney might be guilty of a felony for describing his time as CEO of Bain Capital as inactive after Feb. 11, 1999 on campaign financial disclosures. February 1999 was when Romney left the management of Bain in the hands of others, so he could run the Winter Olympic Games in Utah:
The Obama campaign is following Newt Gingrich’s lead during the Republican primary election and hammering Romney for his stint at the venture capital company by saying that Bain laid off American workers under his watch. This, of course, is to distract from the disaster Obama’s policies have been for the U.S. economy under his watch. We are running 40 plus weeks with an unemployment rate above eight percent and he has racked up more federal debt in under four years than President George Bush did in eight.
Remarkably, Romney defending himself from charges of criminal behavior is whining, according to the Obama camp. Even the most casual observer has to be aware that Obama has been whining about Bush since the very beginning.
The whining started during the 2008 presidential campaign, but that’s to be expected. Even though Obama wasn’t running against Bush, every candidate moans about the guy in office if he is from the opposing party running for that office. It’s a given, but the difference with Obama is that the whining over Bush never stopped.
Real leaders understand that the time comes when they have to take responsibility and stop whining. It’s something Obama acknowledged early in his presidency when he told NBC’s Matt Lauer that it be a “one-term proposition” if he couldn’t find a way to straighten out the economy in three years:
Well, it’s past three years and being held accountable isn’t such a “nice thing” after all, it seems. Got high employment? It’s because of the “failed economic polices” of Bush. Got high gas prices? It’s Bush’s fault for not investing in green energy. Got an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? It’s Bush’s fault for creating a “cozy relationship between oil companies and the federal agency that permits them to drill.”
Got a debt nearing $16 trillion? Bush had a big steak dinner and stuck Obama with the bill:
In his This Week attack on Romney, Emanuel went on to reference President Harry S. Truman’s famous “The Buck Stops Here” sign displayed in the Oval Office desk during his presidency.
“You can’t – as president of the United States you can’t have a sign on your desk that says, gone fishing.’ You can’t put that on that desk. It’s basically the buck stops there,” Emanuel said.
That’s good advice and some Obama would do well to take. Truman placed the sign on his desk to send the message that he would take the blame if things were going wrong. Real leaders man-up and accept responsibility. Truman knew that, as did the man who followed him in the White House—Dwight Eisenhower.
Eisenhower, as commanding general during the D-Day invasion of World War II, penned a letter for a speech he hoped he would never have to deliver if the Normandy invasion didn’t go as planned.
He knew that victory would be costly and it was with more than 9,000 Allied troops killed or wounded in the initial assault to drive the Nazis from France. Eisenhower knew defeat would be even more so and could cost Allies the war as well as his command.
With this in mind, the solider who would become our 34th president scrawled this short speech on a sheet of notebook paper the day before troops hit the beeches:
If you have any trouble making that out, here is the text:
“Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that Bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.”
Don’t expect to ever see Obama similarly attach any “blame or fault” to himself over his failures as president. Instead, he’s going to keep using trumped up issues like Bain to distract voters from those failures and keep blaming Bush.
Obama will stop whining about Bush if Americans are daft enough to give him a second term. If that happens, he won’t care whose fault the electorate believes it to be as he leads us further down the path of destruction. It will be too late to whine—for Obama as well as for the rest of us.