It has been 50 years since President Kennedy invoked words from John Winthrop's “City Upon a Hill” to talk about the great responsibility that comes with serving in government. While the original passage is centuries old, many of its ideals still hold true today, namely the principles of trust and accountability.
Today, we saw Governor Christie stand up and apologize to the people of New Jersey for the controversy surrounding the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge. Governor Christie stood before the New Jersey and national press corps for nearly two hours, making it clear that members of his team behaved unacceptably.
After learning about his staff’s involvement and their dishonesty when asked about it, he immediately took action and terminated the responsible parties. That’s what leaders do.
It is always difficult to deal with controversy and scandal, especially when it involves members of your team you’ve trusted and relied on for years. But the Governor’s honest and straightforward approach stands in complete contrast to the way that President Obama has handled the many serious controversies surrounding his Administration over the last year.
In recent months the news has been inundated by stories and controversy surrounding the President’s dealings with Benghazi, the IRS and most notably, Obamacare. Every day there were new headlines about the President’s involvement in these events.
While the circumstances of each incident were different, one thing remained consistent: President Obama took little responsibility in any of these events. He blamed others, made excuses and passed the buck.
While many Americans are receiving cancellation notices for the health insurance plans they were told they could keep – others are facing increased premiums and losing access to the doctors they know and trust. The President’s rhetoric on Obamacare was so off base it was even named Politifact’s “Lie of the Year.”
Rather than take responsibility for these failures, the President has shifted blame among his political counterparts, and despite wasting over $500 million taxpayer dollars on the website, not a single person has been held accountable for this disastrous rollout, let alone fired for their incompetence.
This is no way to lead.
As John Winthrop and President Kennedy both said many years ago, government should be “constructed and inhabited by men aware of their great trust and their great responsibilities.” Today, we saw that philosophy embodied by Governor Christie. Hopefully President Obama was taking notes.