Can’t say that I remember W ever using words like that around Hurricane Katrina. And I certainly could be wrong, but I doubt former Presidents’ Clinton, Bush and Reagan ever did either throughout the handful of major crises they blundered through.
Last night, President Obama held a closely choreographed press conference to discuss the latest with the BP oil catastrophe. Within this speech, he threw out some typical political rhetoric by blaming a variety of parties for not plugging the leak (front and center, of course, was BP). But, he also conceded that real mistakes were made on his watch and he owned up to the fact that “there wasn’t sufficient urgency in terms of the pace of how those changes (to stop the leak) needed to take place.”
I find the President’s remarks refreshing. Sure, any cynic will immediately counter my point by stating that the President’s remarks were purely politically driven. He had to say something because of how poorly his administration has looked over the last few weeks in its inadequate response to BP’s failure. I’m sure, to a certain degree, political posturing could have been one of many reasons why he offered contrition.
But, the cynic’s rebuttal is probably the exact reason why I feel good about his remarks. You see, past Presidents did everything and anything possible to never have to admit any mistakes… even when it was so overwhelmingly obvious that they were wrong. Just look at W (again) around Katrina. During the worst of those times, the American public had their eyes and ears peeled and pressed wide open, just hoping that our President would come forward and explain how and why under his watch things could have possibly become so bad. Yet, we never heard anything. To most Americans (with the exception of those die hard conservatives), we lost just about all respect for this leader because, in the end, he took absolutely no responsibility for the outcomes of this hellish disaster.
Obama’s concession was not only a smart political move, but it also shows that even when he (and his administration) isn’t in tune with the sentiment of the American people, he somehow finds a way to regroup, recover and make the right communications decisions before falling into a political abyss.By the way, this is ironic because yesterday I was a few seconds away from writing a post about how our President has become tone deaf through this latest gulf shore debacle. And, of course, apologies (in the greater scope of just how much devastation this spill has caused) really mean very little to thousands of fisherman who have lost their livelihoods and all the wildlife life that has been lost. That is what really matters now. Still, I’m glad that I decided to wait a day before writing a post that would have typically taken just another jab at our President.