Why is it so difficult to say, "I screwed up."

Mets manager Willie Randolph, clearly sensing the anvil over his head, blaming everyone but himself for the team's problems.

The number two guy at the Federal Reserve recently telling a New Orleans business audience, don't blame us for the housing mess.

Donald Kohn essentially saying there was nothing the Fed could have done to avoid the credit crunch.

It's a familiar tune.

Alan Greenspan himself said he did nothing wrong.

Countrywide executives insisted they did everything right.

But something went wrong.

All of these guys, Randolph, Kohn, Greenspan, Mozilo.

It's natural if you're getting blamed for something, to want to blame someone else. Almost anyone else.

But why?

Do any of these folks really think denying culpability makes us think they're any less culpable?

What if Willie Randolph said, "Truth be told, maybe I was too passive leading this team. It cost us the playoffs last year. And staying nowhere near first this year."

Or Greenspan said, "You know, in retrospect, I guess I did keep interest rates too low, too long, and I guess that got people doing risky things."

Or Countrywide execs said, "Look, we provided lots of opportunities for folks who couldn't buy homes, but we aggressively courted those who shouldn't have even applied for them in the first place.

All I know is it's better to admit mistakes than pretend they don't exist.

Harry Truman said the buck stopped with him. And he did pretty well.

Enron's Ken Lay said he had no idea of the crimes going on under his watch, and he did not.

Americans are tolerant of sinners, perhaps because they're sinners themselves.

Americans see that.

I think what ticks them off most is when their leaders do not.

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