This is gonna take a second to illustrate my point, so please bear with me, okay?
Pretend for a moment that you’re a CEO of a major corporation. You have all sorts of assistants, VPs and lieutenants whose sole job is to keep you informed. Also, since it’s your responsibility (not to mention how you make money), you spend a great deal of time pouring over numbers, charts, spreadsheets, etc…
And most importantly, you talk with your folks.
Now, all of you who’ve had management jobs, or who really are CEOs, you know that many times a subordinate will tell you only what they think you want to hear. Which is why an effective CEO/manager figures out ways to get the truth: you know who to talk to, you know who to trust for the real skinny on what’s happening on the production room floor. This is how you stay in business, a crucial process that a former boss of mine wryly referred to as “his paycheck continuation program”.
But what if you DON’T stay informed this way?
In my experience, something big, bad, and horrible will inevitably occur. Something entirely foreseeable, yet tragic and/or expensive. In that instance, even as you set about addressing/correcting the problem, somewhere along the line, …you flip out.
“Why wasn’t I alerted!?!” you’ll undoubtedly ask.
“You told me things were going just fine, and now THIS happens?”
“If you needed help or simply just needed advice, …why didn’t you ASK for it!!!??”
I’ve been there. Many of you have been there, too.
And THIS, guys and gals, is my primary complaint with the Obama Administration.
Ya’ see, their excuse (every single time) is “I didn’t know”:
- Fast and Furious? Eric Holder didn’t know.
- Security issues in Benghazi? Secretary of State Clinton didn’t know.
- Solyndra being an obviously poor investment risk? Obama had NO idea.
- There are now conflicting accounts as to whether or not Saudi Arabia sent a written warning about the Boston Bomber and a planned explosive attack in “a major U.S. city.” When questioned about it, the Department of Homeland Security’s response is easy to guess: they didn’t know.
- Remember all the way back to before Obama was even elected, and the whole Reverend Wright saga? Remember Obama’s response to being asked about Wright’s numerous, inflammatory, videotaped statements in his preaching? You guessed it: he didn’t know about ‘em.
- Shovel-ready jobs not being at all shovel-ready? Obama didn’t know…
- AIG bigwigs getting millions in bonuses, after we’d just bailed them out with billions of tax-payer dollars? Obama found out practically when we did, we’re told. It wasn’t his fault: he simply didn’t know.
- The release of hundreds of illegal immigrant detainees, many with a criminal record? Janet Napolitano blamed it on “career officials in the field”. Translation: she didn’t know.
- In 2011, after 2+ years of economic stimulus, bailouts, and trillions of dollars of debt had failed to turn the economy around, Obama was asked about the lack of discernible economic progress. His reply? That he “didn’t know the full extent of the economic crisis”. Naturally: he didn’t know.
- And most recently, when President Genius was asked about the reported intimidation and threats against potential State Department whistle-blowers in Benghazi? You’ll be shocked to hear: he didn’t know.
If one of these events took place on someone’s watch, you could chalk it up to a communication error. Two? Okay, the government is pretty big, so sure, anything’s possible. Three? Maybe, I guess, but that’s still a reach.
But THIS? No way. And I haven’t listed all of the possible examples. I compiled this list quite literally off the top of my head: there’s waaay more.
Plus, in the majority of these examples, there was far too much at stake for a field operative/underling/lackey to assume sole responsibility for the decision. In Benghazi, for instance, we’re supposed to believe that Sec. of State Clinton was not “in the loop” regarding the deteriorating conditions of this outpost:
(CNN) – Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, refers to an Aug. 16 cable that warned that the Benghazi compound couldn’t withstand a coordinated attack. He asks whether Clinton was aware of the cable.
“That cable did not come to my attention,” Clinton says. “I made it very clear the security cables did not come to my attention or above the assistant secretary level where the (independent post-Benghazi review board) placed responsibility.”
Once again, they “didn’t know”.
Sticking with Benghazi, let’s use the ‘reasonable person’ test here: What direct report is willing to stick his/her neck out that far, when it’s obviously a life-or-death situation, in an area populated with Islamist radicals, on the anniversary of 9/11? This wasn’t the consulate in Ottawa, or Melbourne; this was our embassy in war-torn Libya, which had already been attacked just weeks prior. What civil servant is going to jeopardize their entire career over something so risky, without sending it up the chain of command… if only to cover their own precious posterior?
The Obama Administration would have us believe that they must hire such people by the metric ton, as the Administration repeatedly hews to its Pavlovian response.
“I didn’t know“?
Well, I sure as heck do.
There are only two logical answers for a list like this: (A) systemic, egregious and staggering incompetence, …or (B) they’re lying. Not a great menu to choose from, I’ll grant you, and either answer would earn us the heave-ho from our hypothetical CEO gig in fairly short order.
This is a tough one: “Incompetence”? “Lying”? Both, perhaps? They’re each tempting and equally likely, but I gotta admit…
…I just don’t know.