In conservative circles, Gov. Huckabee's being caught unawares of the NIE regarding Iran at an on-the-record event a couple days ago has been one of the big items this week.
The other day, as reported on Jonathon Martin's blog
, Huckabee had an opportunity to explain to Wolf Blitzer his ignorance on the topic the other night. This is what he said:
"There are going to be times out there on the campaign trail, Wolf — you've been on the trail, you know — that candidates are literally driven from one event to the next. And it would have been nice had someone been able to first say here's some things that are going on, that are taking place. That didn't happen. It's going to happen again."
You know, I can kinda understand his point--it probably is hectic as all heck on the campaign trail.
But I don't LIKE his answer for two reasons: a) it shows that his inner circle has a tin ear on late-breaking news (or maybe it's just on international news) ; and FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY b) this explanation lacks one very important element I look for in my leaders: accountability.
Seriously, "had someone been able to say". . .come on! So today, Governor, I ask you: who in your organization should have been that someone? Why didn't he/she tell you about it? Are they incompetent? Or are you just inaccessible to them? What have you done to remedy the problem?
Accountability in any organization has but one face, and in the Huckabee campaign that face is Gov. Huckabee. The problem isn't long days or a busy schedule, sir--the problem is either that your staff let you down in hearing the information (which looks really bad for a 21st century campaign) or that they let you down in informing you of the information (which shows--at best--a lack of understanding of the lofty world they now occupy). Or maybe YOU let THEM down, Governor. . .have we explored that possibility yet? What's more likely: that a staff person (likely a politics junkie) dedicating their life right now to promoting the chances of "their guy" didn't know about the contents or the possible ramifications of the NIE?; or that an aw-shucks candidate with little foreign policy gravitas heard an acronym that he didn't know in a 60-second data download between events and just failed to understand the implications? Sounds like a toss-up to me. . .
But that is a secondary concern to me. Again, I'm all about accountability: accepting Huckabee's infamous "someone" explanation at face value, how can a man running for the highest office in the world not have a staff around him that is as serious as the stakes? That's bad leadership. . .which, once exposed, must be remedied.
What has he done to remedy the situation?
To me, it would have been a lot better for the Governor to just say: hey, I failed to hear the information. Obviously I wish I would have been more prepared for the topic, but I wasn't. HOWEVER, I am know informed, so please ask me your questions.
But that isn't what he said. He instead tried to blame some faceless staff puke--how perfectly Clintonian of him!
Again, all I'm asking for is accountability. Is it really so hard? In my limited experience, I've found that if you are surrounded by good people, it's very easy to be held accountable because all the pratfalls are your own. And if the people around him really aren't that good. . .well, that doesn't exactly shine an encouraging light on our would-be Commander in Chief, does it?
How's the saying go: one finger out means 3 fingers back at you?