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On Bucks, and Where they Stop

Image result for Janet Reno

On Monday, the day before the US election day, newspapers carried obits of Janet Reno, President William Jefferson Clinton's attorney general.

Apparently she succumbed due to complications of Parkinson's disease. May she rest in peace.

The obits of course all necessarily discussed the US raid on the Branch Davidian compound on April 19, 1993. A mass murder difficult to forget or forgive, but perhaps you dear reader will think that sort of thing too common a consequence of statism for further reflection here.

What I would like to remind you of now, though, out of the long fall-out from that event, was her assertion, apparently aimed at protecting her boss, that "the buck stops here, with me."

It completely reversed the significance of the old Truman sign. After all, the point of the sign on HST's desk saying the buck stops here was developing the then astonishing consequences of the fact that Truman was the President of the United States. And buck-stopping is what being head of an organization accepts. No buck in our system stops with a cabinet member.

I am reminded of a sign my father had on HIS desk at work for years. Dad was a manufacturing process planner at the Pratt & Whitney play in East Hartford. If you don't know what P&W manufactured, or what a process planner does ... never mind for now. The point is the sign.

"The buck doesn't even PAUSE here."


  1. Christopher, I agree with what you write here, but Reno may have been making a legitimate distinction. The buck may have stopped with Clinton because he hired Reno, and because he delegated the decision-making responsibility regarding the raid to her, but she is claiming to have made the decision without his input.

  2. Well, okay, but the COTUS is pretty clear that one of the central duties of the POTUS is to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Either Reno believed she was faithfully executing the laws, or she didn't. In the former case, the buck seems pretty eager to move on the WJC's desk. In the latter case ... she's be confessing to murder.


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