What happens when a news anchor holds Obama accountable for his performance?
posted at 2:41 pm on April 24, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Well, maybe this explains why it doesn’t happen very often. On Sunday evening, CNN’s Don Lemon told viewers that “people like Sarah Palin have a point” when they say that Barack Obama needs to stop blaming everyone else for the shortcomings in his own performance, including the economy. Noel Sheppard called this “heresy,” and that’s not as exaggerated as one might think — if you read the responses coming to Lemon from Twitter:
LEMON: The agency that protects him under fire. The agency representing the country on the battlefield under fire. The agency that oversees government agencies under fire.
The Secret Service, the GSA, the armed forces. While the president doesn’t directly run these organizations, he is the president and as much as Democrats don’t want to hear it, people like Sarah Palin have a point.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: His department — the buck stops with the president, and he’s really got to start cracking down and seeing some heads roll. You know, he’s got to get rid of these people at the head of these agencies.
LEMON: At the head of these agencies. He’s also the head of the economy. He’s in charge of it, yet almost four years later his entire administration is running, still blaming a bad economy on George W. Bush.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Take a look at what happened in Ohio between 2000 and 2008. Instead of faster job growth, we had the slowest job growth in half a century.
TIMOTHY GEITHNER, TREASURY SECRETARY: The president inherited, again, as you know, the worst financial crisis since the great depression. The worst crisis since the great depression when he came in office. You know, this was a financial crisis caused by a shock larger than what caused the great depression.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Too many people have been stripped of their dignity as a consequence of this god-awful recession we’ve inherited.
LEMON: It is true that they inherited the worst economy since the great depression. The research shows it. It does. It shows it. But it’s the same talking points he ran on last time. … So, everyone understands it’s an election year and you need something to hang your hat on. It’s something to hang your hat on. But no one likes a broken record. And at some point you’re going to have to take responsibility for the things that happened on your watch, regardless of what went down or up before you took office. And stop pointing fingers backwards. That’s tonight’s “No Talking Points.”
I don’t agree with everything Lemon says here, specifically with the notion that the President is “the head of the economy.” Lemon might be using shorthand to mean “the head of government economic policy,” but if he means it literally, he’s wrong. Only in command economies is the head of state also the “head of the economy.” Most of the economic problems created or exacerbated by the Obama administration come from their assumption that Obama is the head of the economy — and the “greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression” can also be traced to Congress thinking the same thing about itself and its interventions in lending markets.
But I wholeheartedly agree that the President is ultimately responsible for his administration’s performance, even when responsibility for failures don’t specifically fall on his doorstep, such as the Secret Service scandal. However, as the Boss Emeritus’ new site Twitchy documents, Lemon’s common-sense statement makes him a traitor to the Left:
Well, anyone who makes a political statement will get this kind of reaction on Twitter, but it’s interesting to see how quickly Lemon’s sexual orientation got made an issue in the criticism. I suppose this is yet another example of the oh-so-tolerant Left. Perhaps Lemon will have his eyes opened by this response.
The most amusing part of the response is the horror expressed that a Democrat should be held accountable for his performance. The fact that such a statement could be in the least controversial, or the admission that Sarah Palin might be right about something would provoke such hatred, is in itself illuminating.