Free Markets, Free People

Trust, leadership and politics

Well you all saw the new job numbers – 74,000 new jobs, 525,000 more workers drop out of the workforce and magically, the U3 unemployment rate dropped to 6.7% (“and the underpants gnomes … SCORE!”)

Trust … why wouldn’t you trust the BLS’s numbers when you continually see this formula add up to “less” unemployment? /sarc

In more ways than one, trust in government is being squandered by those in government.

For instance have you ever seen “leaders” who seem to know less about what their “minions” are doing than this latest bunch?  Barack Obama is clueless as is, to a lesser extent, Chris Christie. And so we are witness to abuses of power on a regular basis. Most of those abuses can be linked to politics in general. But let’s face it, whatever the reason, we are seeing more and more abuse of power to the point that one might suggest that our government has become too powerful (“suggest” hell, it IS too powerful).

There’s another point that bothers me. I don’t know about you, but the way I’ve always been taught – in fact what I learned as a leader – is a leader is responsible for everything that does or doesn’t happen on his watch.

And while we may apply that in our lives and jobs, “we the people” seem content with swallowing the “gee, I didn’t know that was going on” nonsense from politicians. I’ve never seen an occupation where they are given so many passes on things that in the normal business world – or any other “world” – would be the end of their career.

In terms of leadership, It really doesn’t matter what happened, it’s his or her problem and responsibility. Good leaders don’t let those sorts of problems crop up very often. That’s because it is the leader’s job to set the ethical and moral boundaries of his administration and to relentlessly patrol those boundaries and punish those who cross them.

But that doesn’t happen today in politics. Instead we just leave ’em be when they say “uh, gee, I didn’t know a thing about this.”

Ignorance isn’t an acceptable excuse. It’s the 7 year-old’s defense, one we don’t accept from our own kids, and yet we let politicians who claim to be leaders pull it every single day.

Trust? How can you trust anyone you let lie to you daily? How can you trust anyone who has no apparent moral or ethical boundaries and are only sorry to be caught? How can you believe anything they say? More importantly, how can you let these people have any say over your life at all?

Just wondering …


34 Responses to Trust, leadership and politics

  • Exactly. I cannot trust the electorate who continually puts them into office. And even now, it’s disgusting that Bridgegate is such a national scandal. Northeastern liberals getting caught in traffic is an outrage whereas a sitting US ambassador being dragged out of his compound and slaughtered after Sec Def and POTUS couldn’t be bothered to secure the compound prior to the anniversary of 9/11 is casually dismissed with a “at this point what difference does it make?” And of course, to say nothing of those miserable tea party wretches getting what they obviously deserved from the IRS. Which is exactly what is being said nowadays about it – nothing.
    Maybe Christie has something here. Maybe enough people on the right are tired and want to elect a guy who will stick it to the left. We shall see I guess.

    • We just went throug, not 3 months ago, the Park Service abuse during the shutdown.
      They didn’t have to shut down parks, even keeping people out of empty parking lots within view of Mount Rushmore and other national monuments, but they did.

  • Barack…Not responsible for anything, that includes his Nobel Prize.
    Christie…ask yourself what kind of guy surrounds himself with trusted aides who behave like these ones did.   These the kind of people a moral upstanding leader surrounds himself with?   Think this is the first time they did something like this?  Do these people sound like people who know they’re going to get chewed out and fired for acting like mafia button men, or people who understand that sometimes when the boss mutters contemplatively to his wine glass “will no one rid me of this turbulent priest’ that someone just got orders?

    • Think this is the first time they did something like this?

      What I think is that there is no evidence to the contrary.
      A good, ethical executive or battalion commander can have a psychopath in his organization.  They often DO, and more often than many people allow.  I agree with the idea McQ posits that a leader takes ultimate responsibility for subordinates, while I also know that a rogue’s conduct is never JUSTLY laid to that leader when it is shown the leader…and the leader’s culture…would never permit the conduct if known.
      I don’t think Bush was responsible for Abu Ghraib, for instance.

      • “I don’t think Bush was responsible for Abu Ghraib, for instance.”
        I agree.   I think the news surprised and angered him as much as Barack pretends every time one of his little plans gets exposed.
        And you named the magic – “the leader…and the leader’s culture…would never permit the conduct if known.”    I agree with this too.
        Yesterday I actually found myself willing to believe that Christie, a guy I don’t like much and don’t want as a President, really didn’t know, really isn’t this kind of guy, that these close aides REALLY were the rogue interns from Cincinnati, I had to ask myself WHY I believed that yete didn’t believe Barry when he made the same claim.   Now in Barry’s case, he makes that claim a lot, Christie, this is the first time I’ve heard it (I don’t follow Chris much really, so, if this isn’t the first time, mea culpa)
        Wondering why I was thinking he DIDN’T know, I backed up the mental truck, and asked if I was in charge (and I like to think I have an ounce of honor once in a while), would I or would I not want people like this around me as my close personal aides.  People who would do, what I consider to be, dis-honorable things, possibly in my name, to secure my victories…..and I realized, no.  I wouldn’t.   Now that might mean I never became Governor of New Jersey (or Texas even….), but so be it.  When I look in the mirror, aside from not liking my ever increasing grandiosity, I still would like to ‘like’ the guy looking back at me.   I sure don’t pick people who I consider sleaze balls to be my underlings when the opportunity arises.   How ‘close’ and ‘trusted’ do they have to be and how lousy a political operative do you have to be not to see that in them?  I don’t think you get to be state governor by being a hopelessly crappy judge of people.
        So, I’m inferring things about Christie when I don’t have a lot of evidence, other than, he’s a politician in New Jersey.  I based it on the actions of the people he chose to surround himself with, because, as our parents tried so hard to tell us, we’re not just known for who we are, we’re known for who we associate with too.

        • You know, like Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright….

        • Agreed in large part.
          One or two points, however.
          I’ve known some psychopaths of the non-violent type.  People…ofter VERY fine people with great reputations…will defend then to the death.  A psychopath is THAT good at deception.  They are all predators and inveterate liars, but they can seem like your soul-mate/bestest good friend, and the most talented person you’ve every known.
          There is a culture in politics…but in business, too…that draws these people.  You will find them in the eGOP and everywhere else there is power/money/status for their talents.  They are drawn to those things.
          Now, I do not “like” Christie at all as a pol.  But he has been a reformer in New Jersey, and that is not a mean feat.  I would NEVER support his presidential ambitions…would OPPOSE them, in fact…but I won’t slime him over this without more evidence.
          One thing cutting in his favor: he canned two people.  If he is lying, they WILL retaliate.

      • I see Abu Ghraib a bit like the surprise that a POTUS gets when he finds out that the VA can’t process claims in a timely manner.
        The fact that our current POTUS campaigned about reducing the backlog of VA claims and it has gotten even worse .. well .. it tells me our POTUS sucks.

    • Stupid is what it is. Of course the MSM is going to jump on Christie for whatever reason. Republicans have different rules to live by.

  • I think Mr. McQuain is off the rails a bit here.
    While I agree that a leader is accountable for everything that happens on his watch, a leader often cannot be held address what he does not know.  If people hid things from him, that is more on the underling than the leader as the leader is only as good as the information he is being supplied.
    McQuain’s example of not accepting ignorance from a 7 year old is true, but we don’t hold the parent of the 7 year old accountable for his actions.  For example, if a kid cheats on a test in school, we don’t say the parent is guilty of cheating.  We often don’t say that the parent should have known.  That would be foolish and no one would expect that.   What we do expect is that a child that is found cheating will have that transgression addressed at home.   We expect the leader(s) of the house to deal with the transgressions of those under their authority.
    With a President, governor, mayor or executive in a large company, I think it is unreasonable to hold them to the standard of “they must know everything.”  That gets into micromanaging and all sorts of other issues.
    There is a difference, in my view, between being accountable for what happens on your watch, knowing everything that happens on your watch, and dealing with what happens on your watch after the incident.

    • I think Christie’s reactions are perfect – problem identified, perpetrator(s) punished (removed), and it took less than 24 hours.   Decisive action, no waffling, a good apology (he didn’t say he’s sorry we found out), and acceptance of responsibility.
      Things Obama doesn’t do.
      You just have to ask yourself, do you believe he didn’t know.
      Consider the observation McQ made – “That’s because it is the leader’s job to set the ethical and moral boundaries of his administration and to relentlessly patrol those boundaries and punish those who cross them.”

      • I believe that when you put what you believe are good people in place you don’t expect them to do anything wrong.   You may not be “relentless” as no one watches every one all the time.  There is a benefit to building trust with someone.   As a supervisor, if I trust someone I am not going to be looking over their shoulder every moment.  When they tell me that “X” happened, (like a traffic survey) I am going to believe them.
        I think in some ways, it is wrong to blame the person who didn’t know the trust they had in another person was violated behind their back.  If we go by that standard, then we should blame the men and women whose spouses have an affair for not knowing the affair was happening 100% of the time.
        There is not a person on this earth that can honestly say that someone they know and trusted did not violate that trust.
        If Christie knew, then he has to go.  (The same standard goes for any public official such as Holder, Obame, Clinton, etc.)  I think Christie’s actions following the disclosure were pretty darn perfect.  He seemed mad, answered questions from the press (to the point where reporters were complaining about the length of the press conference) and he got rid of the people who he could no longer trust.
        I am just uncomfortable holding people in elected office to a higher standard of “trust / betrayal” and “shoulda known” than I hold in my personnel life.
        That’s just me.  Your mileage may vary.

    • Like the “desk jockeying” they did over at the State Department after Benghazi .. nobody actually lost their job .. merely reassigned.

  • My opinion about Chris Christie is that he is John McCain in a fat suit.  McCain was picked as the GOP front runner by the Media and cross-over voters in the Eastern states.  He was picked as a reward for his anti-Bush rants and handing over the dominant portion of campaigning to the news media via compaign finance reform laws. 

    After he won the primary they ate his face off.  They did it indirectly via Palin but it ultimately came back to John McCain’s age making Palin important. 

    Some people like Christie because he had a mouth.  but otherwise his pedigree is pure just right of center Bushian.  The media loved him because he praised, nay gushed on Obama at the lash minute of the campaign and is likely responsible for a small part of Obama edging out Romney and guaranteeing Obamacare would get implimented. 

    The media also wanted him to be the annointed because with that mouth he would damage his runningmates if he didn’t win the primary and if he did win, it would take all of about 20s to destroy him. 

    I’m hoping this takes him out now instead of him being taken out as the GOP primary pick. 

    • Oh yes, I’m quite pleased about this turn of events. I want Fatty McGoo out of the Pres race. Of course, it’s disgusting that inconveniencing northeast liberals is more of a scandal than a dead ambassador, illegal gun running, or rights-trampling by the IRS.
      Dear Fatso:  Next time, if you’re gonna be vindictive, please go big. That’s never been an issue for you.

      • While I don’t want Christie as POTUS, I would like to see him kick ass as NJ gov.

        It is like Scott Brown in MA; yeah, he’s not my type of conservative, but he’s about as good as it is gonna get as a replacement in Ted’s seat.

  • The New York Times gives Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic front-runner for 2016,  a whitewash on Benghazi.  It was neither factual nor comprehensive, but enough of a fig leaf for pundits to use to claim that the critics are thus refuted.  Plausible deniability.  The MSM will just dismiss any discussion of the terrorist attack as “right wing ideologues” going over “old news”.
    Chris Christie, potential Republican front-runner for 2016, gets blasted in the MSM for something far less than Benghazi, IRS, Fast and Furious, etc..  I can’t stand the man and think he deserves everything he gets on this.  However, it illustrates the stark contrast in how the MSM treats Democrats vs. Republicans.  The one, they let get away with murder, and the latter they pile on with howls of delight.
    This is only going to get worse.  2016 will be a proverbial bloodbath.

    • 2016 will be a proverbial bloodbath

      >>>> Human nature and history shows that the actual bloodbath is maybe 20-50 years away at this current rate.

      • Probably, but it could develop sooner.

      • Y’know, I really, REALLY, don’t think it will take that long.
        America isn’t in a vacuum, and there are others out there with still less time.
        Like matches to kindling.

        • You’re probably right. It’s gonna be ugly when it happens – these types of clashes hide LOTS of score-settling in the chaos

          • The amount of ugliness will go up dramatically if the meltdown starts affecting finance/transportation/energy distribution. There are millions of people in this country who are dependent on regular delivery or continuous availability of something – oxygen, insulin, other drugs, dialysis, etc. In a real crisis, many of them will die in days.
            30,000 people died in one summer heatwave in France, mostly elderly people who didn’t have air conditioning. How many would die in an extended power outage in July in the Southwest?
            One glitch in the EBC system led to a looted Walmart. Extrapolate that to a nationwide state of affairs.
            If enough things go wrong at once, we could see a seven figure death toll from a meltdown. If a Democratic president is in office, we’ll *never* find out how many died, as the palace guard media try desperately to cover up the problem.

          • If enough things go wrong at once, we could see a seven figure death toll from a meltdown. If a Democratic president is in office, we’ll *never* find out how many died, as the palace guard media try desperately to cover up the problem.
            >>>> I think it’s a safe assumption that if the dung hits the fan, the media will be one of the first targets.

          • Historically speaking, the Anglo-Saxon tradition has been one of considerble restraint. There was minimal bloodshed in the English Revolution, American Revolution, and even the American Civil War outside the actual battlefield (although actual battlefield violence in the last two were much larger then you see elsewhere).

            However, as a country we are more diverse, less Anglo-Saxon, and I don’t think we could repeat such events with such low levels of non-battlefield violence.

  • The first rule of leadership:
    Everything is your fault.
    We don’t have leaders. We have a criminal syndicate posing as a government.

    • The first rule of leadership:
      Everything is your fault.

      No, the first rule of leadership is “everything is your responsibility.  There is a difference between “fault” and “responsibility.”

  • I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me”

    • That was my inference earlier, that Christy at least didn’t apologize for the fact that people found out, which is the hallmark of the Obama Administration and many politicians in general (and dare I say, the ‘vast majority’ as Democrats like to say, are Democrats).
      He actually apologized for what happened.  For that he deserves credit.

  • The obliviousness of people is gobsmacking. The new meme developing around Christie is that because of the culture he created, his underlings felt comfortable doing the bridge closure.
    Yet suggest that’s why the IRS trampled on the rights of the tea party and you get blank stares.

    • Or, as Glenn Reynolds reminds us often…
      Obama “joked” about using the IRS against his enemies in 2009.