Monday, January 30, 2012

Leaders Must Be Winners

Why are leaders such cowards?  Why do they duck the hard decisions for decades?  Why is Jerry Brown, in his 70s, unwilling to stand up to the unions in California?  Steven Greenhut:
Many of us had hoped that Brown, who no longer seeks higher office, would embrace the tough work of real governance and take on his own allies—i.e., the public sector unions—who are the key obstacle to reviving California.
Since politicians long to be of consequence, what's the problem?  Why do they duck the hard issues?  Jay D. Homnick listened in on Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO) as he spoke to some Jewish voters in Florida about the problem.
Firstly, they like to be popular and do not look forward to butting heads with an entrenched hostile constituency. Secondly, they always want to be associated with success and removed from failure; why take on challenges where the likelihood of emerging as a victor is minimal?
"When was the last time you heard a candidate for Governor build his campaign around the pledge to revitalize urban education?"
There is a paradox here.  For a politician to be remembered, he needs to hold office at a time when tough decisions are needed.  But politicians know that they can't "face tough issues" when the voters don't want the tough issues faced.  That way leads to electoral defeat and the end of a political career.  But people want to be led by winners.  There is something instinctual about that.

Rahm Emanuel is right. You should never let a crisis go to waste.  But let us look at his cynical comment seriously.  Between the lines he is saying that you cannot get the voters to agree to change unless things are falling apart.  For years, Republicans have wanted to "reform entitlements," but the American people didn't want them to.  Why?  Because they are not broken.  Not yet.  When the crisis finally comes, then the American people will be ready for a strong leader to reform entitlements and lead them to the Promised Land.

Of course, Republicans and conservatives say that The Obamis have utterly bungled their crisis opportunity in the winter of 2009.  Instead of courageous action to fix the budget they used the crisis to double down on their failed big-government project with stimulus for Dems and ObamaCare for the uninsured and crony capitalism for green energy.

This year, we are going to find out if the American people agree with the Republicans about Obama.  You'd have to say that, if they do, Mitt Romney, crisis manager and corporate turnaround specialist, is just the president that Hollywood central casting would choose.  Mitt looks like a strong leader, and he has the record of a strong leader and a winner.

And people want winners to lead them through tough times.  It's in the genes.

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