Among the many other things we have seen re-defined at the hands of liberals we can add to that the concept of what it means to be “personally responsible.” Apparently it is now sufficient to merely mouth the words, “I take personal responsibility” and without suffering any consequences for your actions (or lack thereof) or taking any action, you are to take a bow and be held in the highest esteem for your great display of maturity. After all, finding ways to bask in undeserved credit is what the Left excels at.
Consider the Benghazi incident. During his second debate with Romney Obama loftily declared to the nation that he is “taking personal responsibility,” for what occurred there. But of course he did so without actually accepting any blame, and within seconds of making his declaration he turned around and angrily declared that he was “offended” at any suggestion that his White House was keeping information from the American people. “I take responsibility but don’t you dare try and hold me accountable.” That is, in effect, what he was saying.
It comes as no surprise to me when liberals have the arrogance to “assume responsibility” without assuming responsibility. Always in search of the respect and admiration bestowed upon those who truly behave like bona fide adults – selfless, strong, wise – they try to earn respect through imitation. But without the spirit and core principles from which these traits arise, they always get it wrong, and they come off as what they are: children play-acting at being adults. That’s why they believe that taking responsibility can be demonstrated by merely saying the words.
A real adult does not necessarily need to come out and announce that he is “taking responsibility.” That’s because it would already be evident in his behavior. He would expose himself to questioning and face-to-face criticism, and not just with friendly sources. He would genuinely accept blame when it’s due by saying, “I failed to...” or “My administration failed to...” He would truly – not just rhetorically – hold people accountable by firing, demoting or otherwise punishing those who significantly contributed to failure. But Obama doesn’t have to do any of that, because the new normal has now been established.
The man from the audience in that second debate whose question prompted Obama’s “I take personal responsibility” claim appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s show the following night. When she asked if he was satisfied with Obama’s answer, his response shocked and dismayed me. Paraphrasing, he said he was satisfied because Obama “took personal responsibility.”
So there you have it. The conventional wisdom used to be that actions speak louder than words. Under the new normal, words speak louder than actions.