Created By: clankomatic on April 1, 2013 Last Edited By: BibsDibs on April 6, 2016

Blame the Ex-Leader

Everything wrong is the fault of the person who was in charge before ME! And I will fix it!

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Trope
Whoever gets the power has to fix all the things that the previous leader supposedly screwed up. But, actually the previous leader did not screw it all up. They are still "good" - not hero-turned-villain. It is just that the winner writes history.

Film
  • In Traffic, general Ralph Landry gives his successor as the head of President's Office of National Drug Control Policy the following advice:
    You know, when they forced Khrushchev out, he sat down and wrote two letters to his successor. He said: "When you get yourself into a situation you can't get out of, open the first letter, and you'll be safe. When you get yourself into another situation you can't get out of, open the second letter". Well, soon enough, this guy found himself into a tight place, so he opened the first letter. Which said: "Blame everything on me". So he blames the old man, it worked like a charm. He got himself into a second situation he couldn't get out of, he opened the second letter. It said: "Sit down, and write two letters".

Literature
  • Napoleon in Animal Farm blames everything that goes wrong on his former co-leader Snowball - an allegory for Stalin's propaganda campaign against Trotsky in the early Soviet Union.

Western Animation
  • Futurama had Steve Castle blame all the company's previous failures on Professor Farnsworth in the episode "Future Stock"
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • April 1, 2013
    mew4ever23
    Futurama had Steve Castle blame all the company's previous failures on Professor Farnsworth in the episode "Future Stock" ( http://futurama.wikia.com/wiki/That_Guy )
  • April 1, 2013
    MaxWest
    I could name certain US presidents who did this. But are we instituting a No Real Life Examples Please policy here?
  • April 1, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Can't hurt. This seems an inherently political trope.
  • April 1, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    Yeah. And apart from US examples, I can name a good number of examples from Russian history where Soviet leaders did this to their predecessors.
  • April 1, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Film
    • In Traffic, general Ralph Landry gives his successor as the head of President's Office of National Drug Control Policy the following advice:
      You know, when they forced Khrushchev out, he sat down and wrote two letters to his successor. He said: "When you get yourself into a situation you can't get out of, open the first letter, and you'll be safe. When you get yourself into another situation you can't get out of, open the second letter". Well, soon enough, this guy found himself into a tight place, so he opened the first letter. Which said: "Blame everything on me". So he blames the old man, it worked like a charm. He got himself into a second situation he couldn't get out of, he opened the second letter. It said: "Sit down, and write two letters".
  • April 1, 2013
    robinjohnson
    • Napoleon in Animal Farm blames everything that goes wrong on his former co-leader Snowball - an allegory for Stalin's propaganda campaign against Trotsky in the early Soviet Union.
  • April 1, 2013
    MaxWest
    If this is a political trope, criticizing certain presidents and praising other ones (in regards to this trope) could cause constant edits and re-edits. I'm just saying.
  • April 1, 2013
    Astaroth
    ^ I think the standard way of addressing this would be to have an example along the lines of:

  • April 1, 2013
    MaxWest
    Astaroth, I second that.
  • April 2, 2013
    clankomatic
    In Idiocracy, basically the whole third quarter of the movie. Joe is supposed to fix everything, the plants don't grow quickly enough, so they send him to the coliseum, until Frito gets the video of the plants.
  • April 2, 2013
    clankomatic
    And Astaroth, I third that.
  • April 6, 2016
    DAN004
    Bump
  • April 6, 2016
    Chabal2
    Ciaphas Cain: A joint venture between the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Inquisition to investigate Necron technology goes wrong after a member of each goes rogue, stealing an artifact. After both are killed by said artifact, Cain puts any attempt at a Blame Game to rest by pinning it on the traitors, since actually finding out who had more responsibility would strain their relationship even further (as Inquisitor Vail put it, they're equal partners, but whoever gets it first is more equal than the other).
  • April 6, 2016
    DAN004
    Os is this when the previous ruler is blamed regardless of whether they have faults or not? Depending of whether it's true or not, the trope can be played in 2 ways.
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