Thursday, October 05, 2006

No Responsibility...

It is often said these days that no one is willing to take responsibility anymore. As a general rule, that may well be true. Yet, it is difficult to understand how people are supposed to learn to take responsibility when all they see is their leaders ducking responsibility and blaming others...anyone else, no matter how implausible, and no matter how responsible those leaders are.

Where does the "buck" stop anymore? Harry Truman is famous for the statement - The buck stops here. The responsibility lies with me, and I'm man enough to take it. Oh, how we need leadership like that again these days.

I've always been a big believer than in business - and in life - you will always go far if you are willing to take responsibility for negatives, and pass the praise on to others for positives. It is scary - sure. But down deep, people respect those who are willing to step up, take responsibility for a situation, and with a steady jaw, accept the consequences of those actions. (The flip side is true as well, people always respect those who are willing to give credit to their co-workers and associates for triumphs, and it also engenders the respect and loyalty of those receiving the praise.) That's what people want. Accept your consequences, and then succeed anyway. That's how respect is earned.

And then there are people who respond like this: Hastert vows to hold on

In an interview with the Tribune on Wednesday night, Hastert said he had no thoughts of resigning and he blamed ABC News and Democratic operatives for the mushrooming scandal that threatens his tenure as speaker and Republicans' hold on power in the House.

Hastert refuses to take any responsibility. Instead of a concern for the people impacted by this scandal, instead of a concern for public perception, instead of a concern for the leadership of the House of Representatives...Hastert is concerned only about his tenure as speaker and Republican power. He's willing to blame Democrats (whom he purposefully kept the information from) and the media who broke this story. Pathetic and sad.

"I think that [resignation] is exactly what our opponents would like to have happen--that I'd fold my tent and others would fold our tent and they would sweep the House."

The election is more important than principal.

He went on to suggest that operatives aligned with former President Bill Clinton knew about the allegations and were perhaps behind the disclosures in the closing weeks before the Nov. 7 midterm elections, but he offered no hard proof."

All I know is what I hear and what I see," the speaker said. "I saw Bill Clinton's adviser, Richard Morris, was saying these guys knew about this all along. If somebody had this info, when they had it, we could have dealt with it then."

Even this is Clinton's fault...not the Republican leadership's who "only" covered up the story and refused to investigate the situation. [Here is where we all roll our eyes.]

In a day of rapidly unfolding developments, former Foley chief of staff Kirk Fordham charged that he had alerted the speaker's chief of staff to Foley's behavior well before a former page complained last year of inappropriate e-mails from the Florida Republican congressman. Fordham resigned earlier in the day as chief of staff to Rep. Thomas Reynolds (R-N.Y.), the GOP national congressional campaign chairman; Reynolds was among those involved in discussions of the page's complaint about Foley.

Fordham's lawyer, Timothy Heaphy, said Fordham warned Hastert chief of staff Scott Palmer at least two years ago about inappropriate behavior between Foley and pages."Palmer subsequently had a meeting with Foley and Foley mentioned it to Fordham," Heaphy said.

Fordham said he was unsure when the meeting with Palmer occurred, but Heaphy said it was between 2002 and 2004, when Fordham was Foley's chief of staff.

Hastert's office immediately denied the charge from Fordham, and the speaker challenged Fordham's credibility directly.

I admit that I might be wrong, but I feel strongly that Americans would have much more respect for Congress and their leaders if instead of pointing fingers, they would bear the responsibilities of their position. Leadership is not easy, but it's desperately needed.

[Edit: the blaming continues. MSNBC reports that Hastert will speak today and blame Democrats. Of course, his position is untenable. The ABC reporter who broke the story has gone on record as saying his information came from a Republican staffer, and The Hill is reporting that Longtime Republican was source of Emails. The cover-up continues.]

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