Perhaps, as one of his first acts as President of the United States, instead of returning a bust of Winston Churchill to our friends in the United Kingdom, Barack Obama had studied the life and leadership of that great man, he could better lead this great nation. That Englishman “inherited” far worse problems from his two immediate predecessors than the American did from his.
And wheareas instead of demonstrating “bottomless reservoirs of gracelessness” in faulting those predecessors for “the terrible mess he inherited” as Obama has done toward his immediate predecessor, Churchill, according to Paul Johnson, showed magnanimity toward those flawed leaders:
Churchill wasted an extraordinarily small amount of his time and emotional energy on the meanness of life: recrimination, shifting the blame onto others, malice, revenge seeking, dirty tricks, spreading rumors, harboring grudges, waging vendettas. Having fought hard, he washed his hands and went on to the next contest. It is one reason for his success. There is nothing more draining and exhausting than hatred. And malice is bad for the judgment. Churchill loved to forgive and make up. His treatment of Baldwin and Chamberlain* after he became prime minister is an object lesson in sublime magnanimity. Nothing gave him more pleasure than to replace enmity with friendship, not least with the Germans.
An object lesson Obama is in sore need of learning. In his speech on Afghanistan, by one pundit’s count, he “adverted at least half a dozen times to the supposed blunders of his predecessor.” And he’s not the only official in his Administration who eschews such Churchillian magnanimity in order to lambaste George W. Bush. In an email to supporters touting Obama’s Afghanistan speech, Vice President Biden “said of the new policy towards Afghanistan: ‘It’s a clean break from the failed Afghanistan policy of the Bush administration, and a new, focused strategy that can succeed.’”
Why must they always define their policies by contrasting them to the “failed” ones of W instead defending them on their own merits?
Wonder how we could make a teaching moment for these two?
*those aforementioned predeceesors