The goal is to avoid taking responsibility until you know for certain that the outcome is good. You certainly don't want to go out on a limb or stand on principle when considering a political position.
Barack Obama is the master of deferring responsibility, and these are three ways he accomplishes this goal. He has more than three in his arsenal, but these have been particularly relevant the last couple of weeks.
3. "This Isn't Just My Opinion, but that of Nameless 'Experts'"
This is a favorite tactic that Barack Obama uses, especially when he's discussing something that seems complicated, counter to public opinion, or is the exact opposite of what a known expert has stated.
On answering the question on whether he would hand off a worse situation to the next president because of his enormous budget, Obama mysteriously answers the question as if it has something to do with health care. Nevertheless he pulls out his trusty tactic to reduce his responsibility.
In the realm of international economics, the tactic works very nicely.
In answering the question on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, Obama made these remarks.
When he can't seem to find an expert to support his opinion he simply states his opinion and follows it with "Nobody disagrees with me." When he says that, you are almost certain there are loads of people who disagree with him.
Everyone, I'm sorry, "almost" everyone who has looked at our current financial situation sees reducing health care costs as our primary means of correcting our financial situation?
What about all those... I don't know banks that are collapsing or those companies your administration is commandeering? I guess I'm not part of "almost everyone."
And sometimes he combines the "expert" tactic along with the "nameless expert" tactic, especially when one of the people he mentions by name is a Republican.
Notice in this clip how he takes the responsibility off of himself when it comes to dealing with VA issues and spreads it across John McCain and Carl Levin. But that's not enough, he then goes on to group in "a whole host of people" (aka the nameless experts.)
This tactic helps Barack Obama cleverly avoid any real scrutiny because, "Hey, other people, especially smart ones, agree with me, so if I'm wrong so are they."
2. "I'm Really Really Tired"
Admittedly, this isn't one that Barack Obama himself uses, but the press has invoked this excuse a few times already, and both times were to smooth over international blunders between Barack Obama and the government of England.
After President Obama gave PM Gordon Brown a stack of useless DVD's as a gift from one head of state to another, the English were a little stunned. The Obama administration's response that "There is nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the 190 other countries in the world" did not serve to smooth relations with America's greatest ally.
However, the British press speculated that Barack Obama was probably too tired to treat England with the respect they deserve.
Sources close to the White House say Mr Obama and his staff have been "overwhelmed" by the economic meltdown and have voiced concerns that the new president is not getting enough rest.
Then when the Obama's met the Queen of England a few weeks later, he continued his lack of interest in strengthening the relationship between the two great allies when he gave the Queen an iPod with some of his speeches saved on it for her pleasure. Michelle Obama broke so much royal protocol with the Queen that even someone from South Chicago may have been embarrassed for her, and certainly her fellow Princeton alumni would be shocked at the display.
This time CBS News, along with the Royal family, explained that the Obama's as simply too tired to treat them appropriately.
That was after [the Duke of Edinburgh] quipped that the Obamas were probably dreadfully bored with their trip to London and were likely just "struggling to stay awake."
1. "I Inherited This From George W. Bush"
Barack Obama's favorite way to avoid responsibility to blame any problem his administration faces on the previous administration. This worked for him during the campaign, and so he continues to go to that well time and time again.
During his February 9 press conference Obama described his economic plan saying
And I'm happy to get good ideas from across the political spectrum, from Democrats and Republicans. What I won't do is return to the failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place, because those theories have been tested, and they have failed. And that's what part of the election in November was all about.
Even when questioned about Middle East peace efforts, Obama can somehow avoid the question entirely and still blame George Bush for passing along some "very knotty problems."
And during his March 24, 2009 press conference, Obama blamed George W. Bush for excessive deficit spending.
I guess President Obama had not seen this chart when he made those comments.
You see, Obama's primary goal win elections and his secondary goal is to be loved and adored, but if he makes tough decisions based on principle, there is a chance someone in the world will not like him. So the solution he has found is that if he can defer responsibility for his opinions or, more importantly, his shortcomings, those who are committed to adoring him will continue to do so fervently.
If the country is in terrible shape over the next few years he can always go back to his proven methods of citing sources other than his own ideas and principles, claiming the job was too tough and he was too tired, or simply placing the blame on those who came before him.
After all, it's certainly not his fault.