The thing about ducking is that it can make you look pretty stupid. Especially if what you are ducking is something that you had coming.
Today Bush is attempting to duck any kind of blame in the mortgage crisis that was the first major failure in the country's economic crisis. Maybe because the embarrassment of his most recent public ducking exhibition has yet to die down, he "outsourced" the job to his Press Secretary.
Dana Perino issued a press release in reaction to a New York Times article that has the temerity to lay some of the responsibility for the mortgage crisis at W's door. Little of what Perino had to say in the release was even worth reading; it was so completely predictable. It wasn't George Bush's fault; it was Congress' fault. It was Fannie and Freddie's fault. It was especially Democrats in Congress' fault (though they had no power until recently and this had been going on for YEARS; all of the years that Republicans were in charge). Or how about this gem; it was the fault of foreign countries for flooding our economy with their cheap money. Part of the White House statement said, "-the reporters gave glancing attention to the fact that it was this Administration that pushed for strengthened regulation and oversight, greater transparency, and housing reform." Yeah? In what alternate universe? Can anyone show me evidence of this claim?
Of course nobody believes that he had no responsibility in the matter. It's further evidence of the denial culture of the rich and powerful. Apparently, Bush did not realize that if you are the boss, you have to take the blame for things that don't go well along with the credit for things that go right (no matter how little you may have had to do with it). That's the way it goes for most people.
Of course, one thing that seems to be much different for wealthy aristocrats is the whole notion of personal responsibility. They like to talk about it, but they don't seem to know what it really means. The common guy knows all about personal responsibility because he doesn't have anyone to shield him from the consequences of his actions. But wealthy people with powerful families have many shields to hide behind; powerful friends, powerful lawyers, well-guarded doors. And this is why it's such a kick in the gut that Bush has the nerve to blame workers for the collapse of the car industry and is forcing the auto industry to break their agreement with these workers in order to give the ailing industry a hand. Because now the little guy has to take the consequences for things that he had ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL over. But then we are starting to get used to that, too.
One piece of advice to Bush and his administration: careful throwing around the "gross negligence" accusation. People in glass houses that ignored government intelligence about a major terror strike, started a war with a country that had no part in the resulting terror strike, declared "mission accomplished" without a plan to get our troops out of that war, failed to maintain government-built dams, failed to respond to natural disaster causing the death and injury of thousands of citizens, refused to listen to warnings about impending financial crises, then proceeded to do as little as possible to try to fix the problems as possible, shouldn't be throwing negligence stones at anyone else. Know what I mean?? People that encouraged our military to break international law should probably not be tossing around legal terms like "gross negligence."
Just in case Perino and others in the administration aren't aware, here is the legal definition of Gross Negligence: "a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both--conduct that is extreme when compared with ordinary Negligence, which is a mere failure to exercise reasonable care. " [click here The Bush Administration may want to pay close attention to this part of the article, however: "a finding of willful and wanton misconduct usually supports a recovery of Punitive Damages, whereas gross negligence does not."