The whiners on the right have been busy making Iraq Obama’s problem, which of course is true by default. He inherited the problem. Just as we all have. Every person living today has inherited the problems of Iraq.
But the whiners have gone further, rewriting history to make Iraq Obama’s fault. That’s a not-so-subtle difference.
From start to finish, the whiners argue, Obama mismanaged Iraq. Of course this is just the way it is for Obama. The man cannot even get credit for his successes, even obviously strong success. From Bin Laden to capturing a leader in the Benghazi attack just this week, if Obama does it, it is wrong.
Benghazi, Iraq, the Veterans Administration…all examples of creating a distracting spectacle so as to evade cooperative work on overall issues that would make these matters nonexistent in the first place.
Meanwhile criminals like Dick Cheney carry on making the absurd claim that their mistakes were not mistakes at all. No, they argue, they worked with the best information available at the time and regardless of the truthfulness of that information or the eventual outcomes, what they did was right and that’s the end of the story.
They point out that they had support for invading Iraq from Democrats as well as Republicans. It’s unclear if this argument is meant to be an excuse or if it is intended to give their claims credibility. Whatever it is, this is where they fail to understand leadership and its obligations.
When people follow a leader, that does not release the leader from the obligations of leadership. Very much the opposite. People entrust you with leadership — they follow your leadership — and that entails responsibility for the decisions you make as a leader.
It is no different if you lead them into a pointless war that every understands was a mistake, if not worst. The Iraq invasion didn’t happen organically or accidentally. One even has a hard time with the claim that it was a mistake. It was a deliberate, hard fought for choice. The responsibility for that decision, therefore, rests on the shoulders of those leaders who lead us into the war.
Blaming others for following your leadership demonstrates a profound weakness in leadership. It proves that the leader is a charlatan and a sham. He is a false leader who takes those who follow him to be fools.
And that, my friends, is the overall problem with the G.O.P. and leadership in a nutshell. They are not leaders, they are complainers. They “lead” by riling up people, getting them to feel wronged or threatened and then dodge responsibility when things inevitably go wrong.
We have largely been following conservative principles for over thirty years. Has it worked? No, not really. Who’s to blame? Why people with opposing politics and positions, of course, not the people who lead with those principles in the first place.
The circle of blame that has been buzzing around President Barak Obama simply shows how poorly conservatives understand and accept leadership. This lack of leadership has reached such a level of absurdity that smart people understand conservatives no longer have a legitimate voice on the issues today. They have reduced themselves to little more than a petty annoyance that unfortunately has been responsible for some enormously damaging consequences.
Opinions and emotions — largely driven by fear and ignorance — have gotten ahead of facts. Emotions are powerful things, and for people who are not informed by fact, emotions will carry more clout and influence than facts. Conservatives capitalize on this. It creates an illusion of principles and leadership. But it also gives them cover when things go wrong and they want to slip away and blame others. That’s the essence of G.O.P. power and influence today.