A survey of leadership tactics from the Wash Post

The public dialogue immediately after the Inauguration speech was all about Obama taking on a more steadfast liberal agenda. It was about time, said the left; Omigod, said the right. By now some more thinking has surfaced, and Post shows it.

David Ignatius writes about Hegel being an Eisenhower Republican, how given the stakes, it is well to avoid war.

EJ Dionne wrote to defend Obama’s gum chewing, and that a leader may be forgiven for taking what measures calm their nerves.

Dana Milbank compares Mike Pence – now Indiana Governor, and Paul Ryan – defeated Veep candidate back in his House of Representatives office. Pence has moved to the center, Ryan is still a Tea Party darling.

Colbert King extends pity on the flailing and whining right, who bemoan Obama’s supposed turn to the left. Bobby Jindal is trying to help his party have both principles and members.

Zach Goldfarb reminds us that if you compare Obama’s positions to the polls, and to the last 60 years, our president is hardly liberal, rather centrist.

In general, this collection of opinions shows the range between temperance and responsibility versus the spoils of victory and political capital. I think the most insightful on this list is Milbank, who reminds us that, when in power, prudence and therefore moderation is manifest in practice.

The beginning of his first term was characterized by a method of raising his proposals up the flagpole, letting congress, the public and wall street dicker over them and hoping his wisdom would emerge victorious. I am proud of our President for his realization that those old tactics might have worked in a more genteel world – the one he was so “Hoping would Change” politics – but after the Crazies were elected, they were just gifts to the GOP. So he will continue to stand up and tell the public who is he is and tell the right why they are vain. Or at least he should, and so the inauguration speech would indicate.

My friends on the left see this as their foot in the door. Don’t stop at this, Barack! We’ve got a laundry list here in our back pocket which you have missed the last four years! But Obama is, in a sense like Mike Pence. The incumbent must lead with wisdom and temperance; this role is more serious than that of critic on the side. Many on the right want to get more involved in North Africa. The left wants to tax the bejeebers out of carbon emissions. Consequences be damned!

Well, I hate gum; I think it looks ugly in public and on the floor. But if it helps you think more carefully and look ahead, Mr. President, you chew away.


About Jim

I've been leading outdoor environmental education in the YMCA since the 1970s. I love teaching nature, history, current events, being a dad, fixing stuff, groups, and general thinking.
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