"Accepts Responsibility" Means Nothing


Just before the Congressional hearing yesterday about the many drastic failures in the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, said that he "accepts responsibility." His exact words from the PBS NewsHour are:

I want to be clear. As the secretary of homeland security, I am accountable and accept responsibility for the performance of the entire department—good and bad.

I long for the days when an official "accepting responsibility" meant that he or she resigned and let some more competent person take over. Incompetent Bush administration officials are particularly adept at "accepting responsibility" without consequences to themselves.

Secretary Chertoff: Step down and leave town if you really mean to "accept responsibility," otherwise just please keep your mouth shut.