Leadership Ethics: The First Lady’s Ignorant Whine

Dr. Jill is having a difficult month. I almost put her latest post-breakfast taco remarks under the “Unethical Quote” heading, but her infuriating comments during a private Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Nantucket, Massachusetts qualify as more ignorant and incompetent than anything else.

Attempting to defend her husband’s miserable performance as President over the past 18 months and to rebut the public’s overwhelmingly negative assessment of his Presidency so far, the First Lady whined—and yes, that is a fair characterization—

“[The President] had so many hopes and plans for things he wanted to do, but every time you turned around, he had to address the problems of the moment…He’s just had so many things thrown his way. Who would have ever thought about what happened [with the Supreme Court overturning] Roe v Wade? Well, maybe we saw it coming, but still we didn’t believe it. The gun violence in this country is absolutely appalling. We didn’t see the war in Ukraine coming.” 

Awww, poor Joe! He’s had to deal with the same challenge as every other President since the beginning of the Republic! Damn! It’s just one thing after another! Who could have predicted it?

Well, anybody who picked up an American history book, actually. (Jill’s a teacher?) Abe Lincoln didn’t expect to have to deal with a civil war from the second he was inaugurated. President Madison didn’t expect the British to burn the White House after he became President. McKinley didn’t see the Spanish-American War coming, or, for that matter, his own assassination. Garfield and Kennedy also didn’t expect to be shot: that really disturbed their plans (Reagan’s plans were disrupted quite a bit by getting shot too.) Before having his forehead blown off, JFK’s plans were disrupted by little surprises like the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis. His successor, Lyndon Johnson, never dreamed that the somnolent campuses of the Fifties would erupt in fury over the Vietnam War. Then there was President Harding’s term cut short by sudden death, President Hoover’s aspirations crushed by a stock market crash that made him the most hated man in America, Franklin Roosevelt’s plans being disrupted by Pearl Harbor, Jimmy Carter’s agenda being derailed by an embassy staff being held hostage, and George W. Bush’s hopes being derailed by four hijacked planes turned into flying bombs.

And wasn’t there something that turned the administration of Joe’s predecessor topsy-turvy when he was poised to cruise to re-election? Huh. It’s right on the tip of my tongue. Something to do with the first pandemic in a hundred years…well, it will come to me.

Dr. Jill’s whining about the unfairness of her husband having to to do the job he had the hubris to seek and as he promise the American people he was capable of doing it well is offensive and, to be blunt, stupid. I’m trying to decide if it is more or less outrageous than the flood of “The Presidency is just too hard now for anyone” op-eds the President Obama suck-up media resorted to as his administration foundered.

The effective, qualified, bold and skilled Presidents have handled the unforeseen challenges that came their way, because that’s what strong leadership is and what real leaders do. It isn’t just the First Lady who has embraced excuses for her husband’s flop; the President himself has refused to accept responsibility for the failure of his policies and agenda, blaming Trump, Putin, Republicans, corporations, the news media, the Supreme Court and Joe Manshin, among others. Meanwhile, he hasn’t fired a single cabinet member or key staffer: one would think he had the Dream Team. Accountability? What accountability?

Unwisely, both the President and his wife have chosen to disregard another favorite Harry Truman maxim, one that he kept on his desk in the Oval Office:

21 thoughts on “Leadership Ethics: The First Lady’s Ignorant Whine

  1. I remember your write-up of the problems the American presidents have faced in the past that show up modern Presidents who think their job is impossible.

    You wrote that the job has always been hard, but it’s only impossible to those who are not good enough to do it.

    That hasn’t changed.

  2. Her comments are mind boggling. She’s a knucklehead. Isn’t it an executive’s primary task to deal with problems as they come up? And, to the extent possible, anticipate them?

    (Am I the only one who cannot imagine Vladimir Putin feeling comfortable invading Ukraine if Donald Trump were still president?)

    • Oh, I think I’ve written that it’s likely that Putin would not have invaded under Trump. Democrats refuse to consider the possibility, but its a simple risk-reward calculation. He moved first under Obama, and waited for Biden for part 2.

      • It’s not: “likely that Putin would not have invaded under Trump”.

        It is: “Putin *did not* invade under Trump”.

        Because he saw Iranian generals getting blown to smithereens.

        He saw a Russian mercenary battalion decimated in Syria by US Special Forces.

        The Left has attempted to cleverly spin this that it’s because Trump is under Putin’s control.

        How stupid. If Trump was under Putin’s control – that would be the absolutely correct time to invade Ukraine.

        • No – Putin has masterfully played two Democrat presidents for weak fools and patiently waited on the American electorate to put weak fools into office. And therein lies the origin of Trump’s stupid “Putin is a genius” line.

  3. The gun violence in this country is absolutely appalling.

    Ah, gun violence.

    Reminds me of this article by Lois Beckett. i will quote excerpts.


    Many people viewed inner-city shootings as an intractable problem. But for two years, McBride had been spreading awareness about Ceasefire, a nearly two-decades-old strategy that had upended how police departments dealt with gang violence. Under Ceasefire, police teamed up with community leaders to identify the young men most at risk of shooting someone or being shot, talked to them directly about the risks they faced, offered them support, and promised a tough crackdown on the groups that continued shooting. In Boston, the city that developed Ceasefire, the average monthly number of youth homicides dropped by 63 percent in the two years after it was launched. The U.S. Department of Justice’s “what works” website for crime policy had a green check mark next to Ceasefire, labeling it “effective” — the highest rating and one few programs received.

    McBride wanted President Obama to make Ceasefire and similar programs part of his post-Newtown push to reduce gun violence. He had brought a short memo to give to White House staffers, outlining a plan to devote $500 million over five years to scaling such programs nationwide. His pitch to Biden that day was even simpler: Don’t ignore that black children are dying too.

    These insights led a group of Boston police, black ministers and academics to try a new approach in 1996. Since group dynamics were driving the violence, they decided to hold the groups accountable. The plan was simple: Identify the small groups of young men most likely to shoot or be shot. Call them in to meet face-to-face with police brass, former gang members, clergy and social workers. Explain to the invitees that they were at high risk of dying. Promise an immediate crackdown on every member of the next group that put a body on the ground — and immediate assistance for everyone who wanted help turning their lives around. Then follow up on those promises.

    The results of Operation Ceasefire were dramatic. Soon after Boston held its first meeting — known as a call-in — on May 15, 1996, homicides of young men plummeted along with reports of shots fired.

    The Rev. Jeff Brown, one of the ministers who worked on the project, remembers people were outside more, barbecuing in the park. At Halloween, kids were able to trick-or-treat on the streets again.

    The team behind the effort quickly started getting calls from other cities — even other countries — about how to replicate what became known as the Boston Miracle. With the support of the Justice Department under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, many cities tried the strategy and some got dramatic results. Stockton saw a 42 percent reduction in monthly gun homicides over several years. Indianapolis experienced a 34 percent drop in monthly homicides. Lowell, Massachusetts, saw gun assaults fall by 44 percent.

    A 2012 review of the existing research evidence found that seven of eight cities that had rigorously implemented Ceasefire and similar strategies had seen reductions in violence.

    Other cities have tried Ceasefire, or half-tried it, and then abandoned it. The strategy requires resources, political buy-in, and ongoing trust between unlikely partners. The effort in Boston had “black and Latin and Cape Verdean clergy working with white Irish Catholic cops in a city that had a history of race relations leading up to that point that was abysmal,” Brown said. “It was really a shift in behavior, in the way we did business.”

    Obama went over the litany of school shootings — Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown — and made a brief nod to the deaths of “kids on street corners in Chicago.” But his plan included no money for the urban violence strategies his Justice Department described as effective. His platform didn’t refer to them at all.

    “What was said to us by the White House was, there’s really no support nationally to address the issue of urban violence,” said the Rev. Charles Harrison, a pastor from Indianapolis. “The support was to address the issue of gun violence that affected suburban areas — schools where white kids were killed.”

    These people have absolutely no problem with gun violence.

    • Yep. If gang shootings were eliminated from the “gun violence” statistics, they’d be inconsequential. But to speak of gang violence is to draw attention to black kids killing other black kids, mostly with pistols. Can’t have that. What needs to be done to address gun violence? Disarm hunters in Iowa who have semi-automatic rifles! That’ll do the trick. It’s all them hunters!

  4. It could be argued that so many of the problems “thrown his way” were those of Joe’s own making and/or exacerbated by his actions.
    “Doctor” Jill might note that Roe is an issue to be dealt with by the legislative branch, notwithstanding the dems’ affinity for rulemaking by the administrative state.
    She might also wonder why the executive branch (hint: That’s where Joe is supposedly in charge, Jill.) has been so derelict in the area where it has specific authority to affect firearms crime. That is, why do the Feds so often plea bargain away, and otherwise not prosecute, firearms charges when they have actual criminals using them while violating other laws. (In contrast, THIS is the type of petty stupidity to which the FBI devotes their attentions and our money.)

  5. That’s complete snivelry. Not only is he *completely* floundering – he’s doing worse than everyone on HIS team insisted Donald Trump was doing. Except here’s this – Donald Trump actually did quite well – AND he had almost the ENTIRE media, legal, and pop culture behemoths actively undermining him at every single turn.

    The thing is – it isn’t just Joe Biden that’s floundering. Yeah – he is personally doing awful. BUT NO ONE in that position trying to run the country from the political position of what the Democrats want would ever do well.

    And that’s the problem – Democrats nation-wide will never blame their own worldview and ideology for this fiasco – they can just say “well, Biden wasn’t the best candidate”.

      • Whichever one means flopping about wildly because you have no footing like a flounder out of water.

        I think the one that means sinking like a ship is too dignified. One must be an organized and recognizable ship first.

        Whereas a fish must be in it element- water. Not out of its element floundering about.

  6. “Dr. Jill’s whining about the unfairness of her husband having to to do the job he had the hubris to seek… ”

    Not just seek, but seek repeatedly. He wanted the job so bad, he refused to take the loud and unequivocal “no” offered by the American people in ’88 and ’08 for an answer. And now they’re going to whine about how hard the job is?

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but fuck you, Jill. Your husband was VP for eight years, if that wasn’t enough of an up-close education to how the presidency works, then he’s even dumber than I think he is (and it would be hard to overstate how dumb I think he is).

    • To be fair, in spite of being “clean”, as Joe noted,, Obama was often lazy and sloppy in his handling of issues. SloJo didn’t have the wit to realize that he wouldn’t be given the same extraordinary level of adulation and protection that Barry got.

      • I refuse to believe that Joe’s handlers didn’t grasp that, as an old white guy, he would not get any of the slack this country cut Obama. The ability to call a critic a racist goes a long way toward shutting him up. Biden does not have that weapon to deploy. He doesn’t get to coast on his color. He has to perform. He isn’t performing. This is no differen than at work where your colleague who is a member of a protected class gets to screw up multiple times with few consequences, whereas if you as a white guy screw up more than once you’re done. Like it or not, melanin and estrogen are actually more valuable than almost anything else now.

  7. Last August, as the American military was embarassed as it hadn’t been since Vietnam, I wrote (now edited a bit):

    I’m just going to sit back and sneer as this submarine approaches hull crush depth while C.O.B. matter-of-factly calls off the numbers (a reference to 1995’s by-the-numbers but excellent Crimson Tide). I may not have voted for this dumpster fire of an administration led by a nearly dead man whose only skill, a quick tongue, has deserted him as he lurches closer and closer to 80, you may not have either, but, We the People did.
    We the people did it despite full knowledge of who this person was, where he was in life, and what he had done before this. It’s all out there on the public record and all accessible at the touch of a few keys. When Barack Obama was in high school, Donald Trump had yet to make a name for himself, and Ronald Reagan was Governor of California, signing the law that made paramedics a fact in America, Biden was already in Congress, pulling the rug out from under South Vietnam. When Reagan was winning the Cold War, he was plagiarizing speeches for not too serious attempt at the big chair. When Obama decided to go ahead with the mission to take out bin Laden he was saying not to do it because there would be no one to pass the blame to if it failed. In days rather than months we saw 20 years’ work in Afghanistan come undone, while he acted annoyed that we pulled him away from his vacation.

    I said once that he would be an acceptable president in peacetime, when all that was needed was a grandfatherly elder statesman who would just need to stand back, let prosperity take its course, and make sure small crises stayed small. I must now retract that statement, and say that not only is he not fit to lead this nation with the myriad problems that faces now, he was never fit to lead it in any state now, and he may never have been fit to lead it even at his height.
    The man is not a powermonger like the Clintons, a Peter principle career public servant like Bush the Elder, or even a master orator and intimidator like Obama. He is a worthless, lazy bullshit artist with no sense of honor whose greatest skills were misdirection and wearing out other people’s patience. Not only is he no good, but he has surrounded himself with no good people. This mess is the result, and we really can’t afford two more years of this. Unfortunately, if we were to somehow boot him from office, his vice president has shown that she is also not up to the job. Someone once posited to me that Obama picked him as vice president as an insurance policy against impeachment (and that Bush the elder did the same with Dan Quayle). It would not surprise me if he did the same with Harris.

    However, no one listened to us. The perception that things were spinning out of control, the woke Kool-Aid, and too many people being all right with an absentee president instead of what we had was enough of a combination to put him over the top, especially when combined with his ability (thanks to COVID) to hide in the cellar and make himself a non-entity, away from the questions. The fact is that the American people are generally lazy and prefer to be spoon-fed rather than doing my research. I’m beginning to think you could spoon feed the American people s*** and tell them it was chocolate pudding and get away with it.

    I’m going to build on this and say also that the American people may be lazy, we may be fickle, but they also do NOT being ignored, they do NOT like it when things go badly for an appreciable length of time, and they HATE the belief, well-founded or otherwise, that they’ve been tricked. Well, there’s no away around any of that now. Now prosperity is down the dumper, the government doesn’t seem to know or want to know that it is, and there’s a growng sentiment, not entirely without a basis in fact, that, Biden is not just no good, but was already no good when he ran, he knew it, everyone around him knew it, but amassing power and getting rid of Trump were too important not to run him and cast him as a moderate he wasn’t. I believe they were betting that between having the media in their pocket, the race grievance pimps calling off the dogs, and the GOP having already done the heavy lifting on COVID, everything would recover pretty quickly, prosperity would return, and they would cruise to a takeover of American society by keeping some COVID restrictions in place indefinitely (out of an abundance of caustion, of course), taking a two-steps-forward-one-step-back approach on racial grievances, and some new taxes and spending (strictly to make the rich pay their fair share, of course). Somehow it never seems to have dawned on anyone in the administration or their backers that if you make the supply of fuel less while the demand remains constant the price will go up, and that if you pour more money into an already stressed economy, you usually get inflation. Somehow it also never seems to have occurred to them that Putin might be playing the long game with regard to Ukraine, and just waiting for an appearance of weakness before making his next move. Somehow none of them seems to have even thought to ask the military professionals whether a precipitous withdrawal from Aghanistan was a good idea, or, if they were determined to go ahead with it, how to do it while minimizing problems.

    Well, here we are, after more than a few bad decisions with bad results together with all the issues that were certain to pop up and couldn’t be anticipated, Now this undistinguished English teacher, this former model who had the luck to attract a powerful man’s eye (funny how that doesn’t get talked about much, but Melania got beaten over the head repeatedly for being a model earlier), has the nerve to say “leave my husband alone! He’s doing the best he can! He’d be doing a lot better if those mean Republicans in the Senate and those crazy right-wing justices would get out of his way, but they just won’t!”

    Madam, if your husband can’t handle the most difficult job in the world, which he took on almost a decade later in life than any other president, then it is time for him to resign. It is not time for him to declare that he will not run again in 2024, because that will render him a lame duck and set off a civil war among his own party. It is time for him to resign and pass the reins to his vice-president, while you and he retire quietly to the beach in Delaware, where you are already spending half your time anyway. Unfortunately, your husband knows, and his handlers know, that doing that would put someone even more unpopular, just as incompetent, and with no excuse for being incompetent, in his place. This would not only put this nation in an even worse place than it is now, but would doom your party for at least as long as Carter did, maybe longer. It’s quite a soup your husband is in, but it’s a soup of his own making, and, I’m guessing, a soup that you probably pressed him to get into because you wanted the title and trappings. If that’s the case, I have to say that’s pretty damn selfish. You’re both well-past retirement age. Your husband should be taking his grandsons fishing and you should be baking cookies with your granddaughters. You’ll be 73 or 77 when you are finished here. Maybe you’ll still be sharp, maybe not. Do you really intend to chair charities or sit on the boards of various NGOs until the Grim Reaper comes for you? Why? Actually I think your insistence on being called “Doctor” tells us all we need to know. You have an ego that just can’t be sated. Why that is would be a psychologist’s challenge. Unfortunately, you made it all of cour challenge, which is not your right.

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