It used to be that if you wanted to find the most slavish trend followers in this country, all you had to do was look to lower Manhattan, or parts of Brooklyn, or maybe Los Angeles. (Ugg boots in summer, anyone?) But now it seems that Washington, D.C.— Republican Washington, D.C., in particular — can go toe-to-toe on the fashion front. Have its denizens shed their navy suits and loafers? Of course not. Rather, they’re all following the new vogue for “responsibility” — you know, where you “take responsibility” for something and leave it at that. No detention. No docked pay. No resignation. Just take responsibility and walk away.
The latest bandwagoneer? Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who this morning took responsibility for the “mistakes” that were made in the politically motivated firings of eight federal prosecutors. He has no plans to resign, mind you. He’ll just take responsibility. He obviously saw how well that worked for Robert Mueller last week, when the FBI chief led a tough investigation to lay blame for the misuse of national security letters by the bureau. “Who is to be held accountable?” he asked. “I am to be held accountable,” he answered. And that was that. He’s still got his job too.
Of course, they’re both just following the responsibility-taker-in-chief, George W. Bush, who has held himself accountable for no small number of disasters in the last several years. (It goes like this: Dubya takes responsibility for the White House leak; Lewis Libby goes to jail. Get it?) If New York is going to maintain its reputation as the trendiest of cities, we’re going to need some responsibility-taking of our own. Who wants to own the Bronx fire? The next subway flooding? Or even, God forbid, the Yankees not winning this year’s World Series? Can someone get Alex Rodriguez on the horn? We think it’s time he start accepting some responsibility. —Duff McDonald