Friday, November 7, 2014

Leaders lead

 Elections  have consequences. , and
there are lessons to be learned.

         On issues of great national or local importance, tentative, hesitant and hedge your bets leadership does not cut it with the vast majority of American voters. Certainty, and leadership with a definitive thrust will trump  wishy washy , Mamby pamby,  maybe this,  maybe that,  leadership every time.
    In a crisis, Americans do not want our leaders leading from behind, from the sidelines, or the middle. They are unforgiving about a leader who gives a muddled message about our intentions and the future.
   If you have ever attended a political rally, you understand that equivocation is unacceptable as a motivator. Woe unto a politician who speaks at a rally and urges his or her supporters to go "sideways" or to stand pat. Haranguing the crowd with cries of forward works much better. Even "let's go backward" can be appealing to certain elements, but "let's just cogitate and dawdle" just doesn't cut it.
     This is the secret of NJ Governor Chris Christie's popularity. Love him or hate him, at least you understand what he's saying. Imagine if he had said to his heckler the other day, instead of "sit down and shut up", "please reduce the volume of your heckling and just squat" so others can see and hear me! What? How can you rally to a nuanced and muddled message. At a rally things have to be black or white, never gray. Gray is for the classroom, not the bully pulpit.
    This is a lesson our President, for whatever reason, refuses to learn . It is also why his poll numbers are so low , and why his opponents prevailed in the midterm elections. It didn't have to be that way.
     When Harry Truman was running to be elected President in his own right in 1948, he railed and rallied against the "Do nothing REPUBLICAN Congress". Not just "Congress". President Obama needs to full throatedly throttle his Republican opposition, and show he can stand up to the bullies, and he must do so in a clear and unequivocal way, lest his Presidency tumble further and forever downward toward the dustbin of history.
     Leadership matters . Americans are craving it, and the President's party is suffering not because it does not have issues and beliefs that resound with the people, but because it has a leader with a muddled message and whose bully pulpit microphone  is in need of a new battery. In the immortal words of ET, the President desperately needs to phone home, turn on his heart light, and lead, not follow. The question remains whether the Professor can get out of the President's way to achieve that objective. The next two years will define his destiny.