Friday, February 25, 2011

Obama - Leadership and Coping ?

I find Obama's general approach to leadership confusing and ineffective for the most part.

I think that most of the common, important things that he faces as president can fit into several categories including:

1.) "Can't Win" - e.g. no matter what he proposes there will be substantial political forces opposing it:

Example: Social Security financing reform,

2.) Important or Potentially Important issues where he has control (e.g. Congress can't readily block what he is doing),

Example: Attorney General and other defense of laws - such as the law banning Gay-Lesbian marriage recognition,

3.) Ideological issues - where controversy exists and success requires Congressional support:

Example: Health care reform legislation previous and future


1. Where one can't win no matter what one does - it's best to try to force bi-partisan consensus to be built around the reform - so push John Boehner into major influence now - appointing Republicans - along with Democrats - for Social Security reform legislation - and push them along with various speeches - not done

2. Where you actually have some control - speaking out - and showing leadership - not waffling - using the attorney general and others - to help you do things - is really helpful. This could include - for example - making judicial appointments when Congress is between sessions to force Republicans' hands on delaying votes on judicial appointments,

3. Where you need to get Congressional support - e.g. health care reform - being decisive and visible - not necessarily speaking always in specifics but involved - would be useful. Obama could be a part of discussions and be visible with Democrats and be visible with people like Boehner.

I'm not optimistic about Obama - related to his political savvy in doing any of these things. Speaking "honestly" and being sort of direct - in feeling like you can sway the American public with detailed speeches is rarely helpful. Being insightful about one's opposition and how to Confront and cooperate with them is necessary.

Obama seems made for situations that don't exist now, and he seems often times lost in the needs of the presidency. For all that one could criticize George W and Karl Rove, both knew how to manipulate the system for their own ends.


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