I remember when I was a kid just learning how to drive, I was backing out of my garage and I must not have seen where I was going because I rammed into the garage wall and took a huge chunk of it with me.
Fearing the worst from my Dad, I frantically tried to cover my tracks: Nailing everything back in place to make it "look" as good as new.
Apparently it didn't look as good as new, because when my dad returned home some days later from a business trip, he knew someone had done something to the garage. But I never confessed. Then he saw the car and the paint of the wall on the car and still he inquired. And still, I said nothing.
Guilt and fear overwhelmed me and finally I caved, admitting everything to him. How I had rushed out of the garage, not looked where I was going and blasted a good chunk of the wall away.
He listened intently, then he launched me into orbit. But I always remember what he said "as" he was launching me into orbit.
"Neil, I'm not disappointed you banged up the garage. I’m disappointed because you lied and never admitted you banged up the garage."
Lesson learned: 'Fess up for your foul ups.
That's why I was impressed with President Bush taking responsibility for that Iraq State of the Union (search) claim. We all know it didn't start with him, but he made it clear it ended with him and he took the heat.
Just like a president named Harry Truman took the heat, reminding all that the "buck stops here."
Just like John Kennedy admitted to fouling up the Bay of Pigs.
If Richard Nixon early on had done the same with Watergate, there never would have been a crisis.
If Bill Clinton would have confessed to the whole Monica thing before it was a big thing, there never would have been that impeachment thing.
I firmly believe when we make a mistake, own up to the mistake and quit covering up the mistake. When you do, you take your enemy's ammunition away. JFK's poll ratings went up after the Bay of Pigs, after all.
A reminder that we're all human, we all make mistakes and we all ram into our own garages in life. But it’s better to say we're the driver than refuse we were ever steering in the first place.
Watch Neil Cavuto's Common Sense weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on Your World with Cavuto.