What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition on the part of every American that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept, but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.
-- President Barack Obama
January 20, 2009
Oh I think that, you know, as president I bear responsibility for everything -- to some degree.
-- President Obama
Interview with Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes
September 23, 2012
I take responsibility. I'm in charge of the State Department's 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn't be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They're the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.
-- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Interview with CNN while in Lima, Peru
October 15, 2012
In the 1,374 days Barack Obama has held the office of President of the United States it is clear that he has not gladly seized his duties let alone grudgingly accepted them. In that time, Obama has instead provided a litany of excuses as to why he has not succeeded in bringing about hope and change. He has at various points blamed ATMs, the Arab Spring, and the Japanese tsunami for his shortcomings.
Obama, of course, reserved most of the blame for his predecessor, George W. Bush. To this day, Obama speaks of the mess he inherited from Bush while ignoring the mess of his own making. Should Mitt Romney be elected he will inherit an even bigger mess. But you won't see Romney spending the next four years blaming Obama for it.
OK, so Obama bears responsibility for everything -- to some degree. Well, now we know it means that when President Obama gets that 3 a.m. call, it is forwarded to Secretary Clinton. Now there is no question that Hillary bears some responsibility for what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Casting blame on a cheaply made Internet video rather than calling it a well-planned terrorist attack carried out on the 11th anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001 by acolytes of al Qaeda is just plain inexcusable. Indeed, there is an argument that she ought to resign her office as has been suggested by our own Ben Stein (among others).
But let us never forget that Secretary Clinton serves at the pleasure of President Obama. If Hillary is telling the world that neither President Obama nor Vice President Biden are knowledgeable about "specific decisions that are made by security professionals" surely that doesn't inspire confidence.
Now I understand that President Obama is too busy to attend his security briefings and has more pressing matters to attend such as the civil war betweens divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. No doubt he will appoint Stevie Wonder as a special envoy if they can't sort it out. As for Vice President Biden, his lack of knowledge on security matters didn't stop him during his debate with Paul Ryan last week from telling the world that there were no requests for additional security in Benghazi.
But given that President Obama "led from behind" to remove Colonel Qaddafi from power, I would like to think that he would be on top of the security situation in a country where there is precious little of it and partially of his own making. Yet that would require Obama to be diligent, dedicated, and to possess a sense of duty to something other than his own prestige. If the mission to kill Osama bin Laden had ended in failure, does anyone honestly think that President Obama would have accepted full responsibility? We probably would have been treated to the sight of then-CIA director Leon Panetta going on TV and telling the world, "I take responsibility for the failure to kill Osama bin Laden. I take full responsibility for the loss of Navy SEAL Team Six."
So long as President Obama remains in office, the era of responsibility will never begin.