Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The buck stops here -- except for Harper

Years ago, the US President Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said, "The buck stops here." The sign was still on the Oval Office desk right through to the Jimmy Carter era. The principle: You may delegate responsibility to others, but the final decision is yours and you have to be accountable and responsible for it. Note that it was apparently removed when Reagan came to Washington -- imagine that.

A few years back, when it turned out the intelligence case for the Iraq War turned out to be fraudulent, Dubya vacillated for weeks on end as to who should take the blame -- and in the meantime, a top secret agent who was investigating the case for war in Iran was betrayed in the worst possible way (anyone remember the name Valerie Plame?).

Tony Blair, on the other hand, took it to the chin. He stood up in the British Parliament and said that while he was misled by his advisors, that did not excuse his misleading his fellow Commons and the people of Britain and that he was sorry. While he said he still would have taken his country to war but for the falsified info -- the "sexed-up" Downing Street Memo, as it's come to be known -- he actually had the guts to say that on that key count he was wrong to take the information at face value.

So what does Harper do when it turns out one of his most important speeches -- in fact, his first key policy address in Parliament as leader of what was then the Canadian Alliance? He lets someone take the fall for it, the person who wrote the speech. But Harper himself? No remorse. No regrets. No having the buck stop with him.

I ask this, not as a card-carrying Liberal but just as an ordinary Canadian: Do we really want four more years of this? If my fellow Canadians decide that they do, then of course I'll respect that as most of us will. However, a little remorse now and then is a good thing and of the five leaders Harper seems the most incapable of showing anyway or even knowing what that is.

Vote for this post at Progressive Bloggers.


Anonymous said...

Meh, rip-off the Australian PM's speach or rip-off David Suzuki's policy and label it with a trademarked brand belonging to a company called Greenshift. Whatever. The liberal reaction to this just shows how desperate you are for anything to grab onto to give Dion some sort of life preserver.

Layton is salvation. YO! Go NDP!

BlastFurnace said...

When Dion took the "Green Shift" name, he admitted it was wrong and got a licensing agreement. He also attributed back to Suzuki some quotes taken, but the fact is Dion took responsibility for it.

But in this case, Harper lets someone else take the fall? Uh-uh. Even Jack wouldn't do that, and I'll give him credit for that.

penlan said...

Well we all know Harper loves ACCOUNTABILITY! ;)
Too bad he doesn't put it into action, eh?

"jackisback" is all over the blogosphere & is giving the NDP a bad name with his tripe. Let him keep it up. He turns people away from his chosen party.