I realize that we Americans have independence and self-reliance that often makes us resistant to being led. But I am not sure why this so readily translates into discounting what our leaders have actually done.
A great example was how many people claim that Bush helped cause the mortgage crisis and recession, when actually he was one of the few politicians who regularly spoke warnings against what was happening with Federal regulations and with Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac. Special interests and moneyed politicians who were blinded by misleading math, refused to heed his warnings, and caused our current economic woes.
Recently I noticed another example. Some people are now claiming that President Obama did not offer any plan during the credit limit and downgrade talks. But he did propose a very controversial plan (although he did not put it in writing and then he backpedaled).
Hm. Perhaps both these stories highlight a second oddity. Even though we know we resist being led we often attribute to our leaders much more credit or blame than they could really deserve! (Even if Bush's warnings or President Obama's plan were heeded, what would implementation finally look like?)