Commentaries posted do not necessarily represent the opinion of LDN.

 Any opinions expressed are those of the writers.

Leader from behind

By Jim Killebrew

Send a link to a friend  Share

[May 21, 2014]  It seems our government is embroiled in a scandal-a-week mode. We no sooner learn the basics of one scandal until another one breaks out and we get to listen to the particulars of that one as well. It gives pause for us to think about how these things keep happening in our government. Each time a new scandal emerges the American people seem to lose just a bit more faith and trust in our officials to administer the resources of our nation. Additionally, with each scandal the media and the political structure of our system seem always to turn everything into a political struggle.

One has to wonder if it is always a political issue or has the government just grown to an unmanageable entity with so many facets and tributaries down which to travel we all get lost in the lack of quality of services that evidently exists. We don’t seem to know about it until it erupts from a whistleblower source or stumbled over through some socio-explosion of behavior that simply cannot be ignored. Misadventure seems to abound that sometimes even leads to people’s deaths. We shake our heads and walk away dumbfounded about the mismanagement that seems to be surrounding our every agency in government and corporate office where giant economic decisions are made every day.

The latest thing of course it the Veterans Administration Hospital system where charges of secret waiting lists and lack of services abound. There are charges of doctors and administrators that seem to be either incompetent at their jobs or negligent in completing their jobs. Immediately as more whistleblowers emerge the scandal forms even further by the media panels of discussions, talking heads, pontificators, “experts” and, of course, political operatives. The blame game begins as each side has contests to determine which one can be the most “disgusted” at the incidents and the knowledge of the misadventure uncovered.

Professional bureaucrats clamor to the podiums to proclaim their innocence of any wrong-doing in the situation. Demands as to who knew, when they knew and what did they know ring throughout the media. The politicians from all parties begin to issue talking points to cover the airwaves with their “reasonable and rational” actions and their foreknowledge of the makings of the scandal weeks, months or years before it hit. The most popular stand is to look backward and blame the guy in the office before, but then demand accountability, while at the same time, seemingly beginning the sequence to cover up all personal blame.

Even the President seems to falter when the scandals hit. More than once he has claimed not to have any knowledge of any wrong-doing until he inadvertently reads it in the newspaper. He sounds like the humorist of old, Will Rogers, when he said, “All I know is what I read in the newspapers.” Credibility flies out the window each time the President of the United States feigns ignorance of situations that loom into scandals emerging out from his area of responsibility. Are we to believe he cannot be given any pre-knowledge of something that is going to shake America’s confidence in his government? Are his staffs in his inner circle so established to construct fire walls to keep him in the dark of issues that make him look ridiculous when newspapers share the news even before he knows about it? Or, as many suspect, is he just not telling the truth when he makes those statements?

[to top of second column]

It appears there is a pattern that has emerged through the revelation of the myriad of scandals coming out of Washington, DC the past few years. Fast and furious, Benghazi, the IRS scandal, the NSA surveillance scandal, not to mention the foreign policy scandals that have pointed to the “leading from behind” charge. Syria, Iran, Egypt, Afghanistan, all the “drawing of red lines” then retreating from those threats, the “reset” of the relations with Russia, then the Russian invasion of Crimea and possibly into the country of Ukraine; all have resulted in the lack of trust in the Administration’s ability to make the decisions necessary to lead a powerful nation like America.

The President has only about two and one-half years left in his administration. If he really doesn’t know about these things until he reads it in the newspaper he may want to get serious about who he has surrounding him in his inner circle and the people he has selected for his cabinet. If their only goal for him is to establish “plausible deniability” giving him cover at the on-set of these scandals, he needs to reconsider their value and use to him. Even in lower positions and organizations much less volatile to world and national security the CEO or the Operations Chief want to know well in advance if any possible situation is brewing that might establish disruption in the organization. In the Office of President of the United States I would think the desire to know that information well in advance of any eruption of scandal would be an advantage to have.

Perhaps it is time to clean house in his Administration and surround himself with people who are business and organizational savvy. Let the political hacks loose; move out those whose only concern is plausible deniability, and replace them with good people who will keep him informed, advise him on the proper course of action so he can move from the rear of leadership to the front where he belongs.

There was a day in times past when a “leader from behind” was known as a “follower” not a leader.


Click here to respond to the editor about this article.


< Recent commentaries

Back to top