Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Responsibility Fashion

"We did not perform to where we want to be," the governor said at a news conference Wednesday in Tallahassee, adding that criticism of the federal response was misdirected. "This is our responsibility."
-- Palm Beach Post, Oct. 27, 2005
Let's give the governor the benefit of the doubt. Assume Jeb Bush meant the "royal we" when, as so many Florida newspapers are claiming today, he 'took responsibility' for the state's confused, slow, and inadequate preparations for Hurricane Wilma.

Rantings Prof nevertheless "smells a rat." He thinks Jeb's "defending FEMA to protect his brother politically."

A politician playing politics when he "takes responsibility" for something? You think?

This 'taking responsibility' thing - lots of politicians are doing it these days. Like Donald Rumsfeld, for Abu Grahib. And George Bush for ruining FEMA. And Louisiana Governor
Kathleen Blanco
for that state's Katrina mistakes. And drunk-driving Texas congressman Kevin Brady. And Koffi Annan for allowing American corporations to bribe their way into oil-for-food money. And -- well, we could go on and on.

Suddenly, it's all the fashion. But what does it really mean?

Writer-editor Doug Cooper over at Dysblog last month posted a transcript of Karl Rove's explanation to George Bush. Here's an excerpt:
GEORGE: So, what does this involve?

KARL: Well, you go out in front of the cameras, and you say: "I take full responsibility."

GEORGE: That's it? I don't have to do anything?

KARL: No, that's it.

GEORGE: That's not a lot of work.

KARL: No work at all.

GEORGE: Well, I don't like it. But if you insist...

KARL: I insist.

GEORGE: Okay. Okay. "I take full responsibility." That's how you say it?

KARL: Perfect.

GEORGE. Gotcha. (pause) Um, Karl?

KARL: Yes, George?

GEORGE: This "taking responsibility" thing. What does it actually mean?

KARL: Nothing, buddy. Nothing. Just words. I suggest you practice in front of the mirror.

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