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September 05, 2005

Should W Apologize?

In a post below, I said that the President should not bear responsibility for all that has taken place in New Orleans. In the comment section, my colleague Rick took issue. I posted a response, and I repost it here:

"Not buying it. Not for a minute. The buck stops with him, but if there's no apology from the city leadership in NOLA (which has been corrupt for generations), none from the state leadership in LA (which has likewise been corrupt), none from the congressional delegation, and if said apology would be further damage to his administration and his party, then W should under no circumstances take responsibility."
What do my colleagues and our readers think?

Posted by Matt at September 5, 2005 09:50 PM

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I agree. Unless all concerned are willing to shoulder their fair share of the blame, including the mayor of N.O. whom I have not heard accept blame for his share of the problem, I don't feel the President should tarnish his Administration by being railroaded by certain extremist political interests.

Posted by: Stan Harder at September 5, 2005 11:53 PM

If I waited for my wife to apologize every time something broke down in our relationship, we wouldn't have much of a relationship. Humility is a great thing in a leader. Not to mention a Christian.

Posted by: Rick Brady at September 6, 2005 01:09 AM

I think the Bush administration should apologize for any issues that are specifically their fault. Was there a breakdown in communications? Could they have responded faster (even though FEMA "advertises" a 72-hour minimum response time)? Has there been any kiester-covering going on at the federal level? If so, I say take the high road. Doing the right thing at the right time isn't a liability.

As to the politics of it all, I think more folks appreciate and accept an apology than consider it a sign of weakness. For the latter group, no amount of self-deprecation will be enough, so simply speak the honest truth and let the chips fall where they may.

Posted by: Doug Payton at September 6, 2005 08:20 AM

It seems that everyone who has responsibility also has blame for when and where they dropped the ball. Bush's biggest fault may have been not figuring out instantly that Nagin isn't exactly Giuliani, not getting at least *minimal* food and water into the area during the critical early days when it could have saved lives. Now, the mayor of N.O. seems unlikely to sprout a clue that most of the fault is actually his, but Bush can't be the one to point that out since he needs to accept responsibility for the federal shortcomings. I'm writing from Houston where I've had a fairly good view of N.O. and the relief efforts. The feds have not been blameless, and Bush should own up to that.

Posted by: Anne Kim at September 6, 2005 11:40 AM

I think the President is still in the "actions speak louder than words" stage of this issue. He should continue to expend significant energy and rhetoric on making things happen to help those affected by Katrina. At the same time, he should acknowledge that there appears to have been a failure at multiple levels and that the investigaiton will both find out the facts and make suggestions on how to improve it. Other than repeating that from time to time, he need not apologize for anything at the moment until the inquiries have been inked. He should also tell Chertoff and Brown to stop talking to the media, roll up their sleeves, buy some workboots, and get to New Orleans for photo ops with shovels, sandbags, etc. When either one of them opens his mouth, bad things happen.

If the inquries come back that the federal government had fumbles, the President should own that, apologize for it, and then fix it.

Posted by: Mark Sides at September 6, 2005 01:39 PM

Apologies come out in the memoirs after a President leaves office.

Posted by: eLarson at September 6, 2005 05:20 PM

eLarson is on to something.

And I missed the idea that Presidental politics should operate in the same manner as a private life.

Posted by: Matt at September 7, 2005 12:20 PM

One of the reasons why I voted for George W. Bush is because I believed that his faith in Christ would cause him to act DIFFERENTLY than politics as usual. That he would do justly, and love mercy, and walk HUMBLY in His way. That means apologizing for your shortcomings, even if there are others who are equally or even more to blame.

I don't see these qualities in Bush right now and I'm disappointed - as a Christian.

Posted by: Rick Brady at September 7, 2005 03:34 PM

Other than your own interpretation of the Christian faith, do you have any model to base that upon?

Posted by: Matt at September 7, 2005 06:34 PM

Matt, scripture is replete with examples of Godly and ungodly leaders. Scripture is also replete with examples of how Christians should behave. I don't need to give you a sermon on this. However, I turn the tables on you. Do you have any BIBLICAL model to base your belief upon?

Posted by: Rick Brady at September 8, 2005 08:56 AM

America is not Israel, and the demands upon W are not the same as they were upon David.

That said, the facts in this case are not all clear yet and W has not yet been in a position to fire anyone nor to make a decent apology. There is not a clear-cut Biblical model for how the leaders of a secular democracy are to conduct themselves. Period. W. is a leader alright, but until the facts are out in the open, he should not, under any circumstances, give in to his critics.

Posted by: Matt at September 8, 2005 03:37 PM

First, I don't think God is a respector of persons and second, if W's critic is the Holy Spirit, he should yield.

I'm perplexed that you as a Christian does not agree with this view. Maybe we're talking past each other here?

(Comment edited - stress getting to me - I like my job)

Posted by: Rick at September 8, 2005 04:48 PM