Creative Leadership

Leadership Versus Talkership

I joke that I was born with the “gift of rationalization.”  If pressed, I can justify nearly anything – bad work, being late, being early, forgetfulness –whatever.  I learned early in my life that if unchecked, that “talent” would cause me to end up either in jail or in politics – or both.  I was thinking about that recently as I noticed all the things the Obama administration used to ridicule about the previous president, or the positions of other candidates, but is now following their lead.

After ruthlessly trashing John McCain’s proposal to tax health care benefits, The Wall Street Journal reported the Obama administration is pursuing the same path.  After ripping congress on earmarks during the campaign, he just passed the largest boatload of earmarks in history.  After criticizing Bush’s deficit, he’s now taking us to debt we never dreamed about.  He tried to convince us he’s “angry” about the AIG bonuses, right after he pushed through a bailout without any restrictions on that very thing.

There’s no question that president Obama has my gift of justification.  He covers all of this with very articulate explanations – what writer Peggy Noonan calls “Talkership, not leadership.”  For instance, when it comes to “terrorism,” he’s leaving that word out of his vocabulary now.  Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano never mentions the word.  Instead she calls it “man-caused disasters.”  He’s also eliminated the word “enemy combatants” in favor of I have no idea what.

It makes me wonder if he has a real grasp of what’s really going on out there – particularly after FBI Director Robert Mueller recently warned of Mumbai-type terrorist acts that could happen in an American city by homegrown “radicalized and indoctrinated” groups.

I’d like to see our president focus more on real policy than articulate justification.  To be a leader rather than a talker.  But we have a president who’s more comfortable on Jay Leno than in a tough strategy session.  In today’s media-driven culture, where celebrity means more than real achievement, talking means more than doing.  In a sound bite world, we probably get what we deserve, and what we seem to have, is someone who doesn’t make decisions, he makes declarations.

It will be interesting to see where that leads.

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  1. I was hoping for more encouraging leading indicators from the new administration by now. How much do you think the office of the president influences economic fluctuation?

  2. I’ve been asking when his new movie is coming out?

    Not sure why he’s on a press tour. I thought he’d already won the presidency and the polls still have him favorable in most categories. How ’bout you go to work now?

    And by work I mean, read the whole bill instead of the cover sheet, (cough cough bailout) And I could do with out seeing your NCAA Bracket especially when America is the underdog to make it out of the first round.



  3. It seems "Talkership" people can easily fall into the trap of just being the cheerleader for the very people they’re *supposed* to lead.

  4. Right on, Phil Cooke!  Talk, talk, talk is a skill that President O has learned to use as a cover for his lack of motivation to deal with important decisions.  Have you noticed how many times he uses "Look" or "Now" in his reply to Press questioning.  He fills his talk with a few platitudes/statements that are used over and over and over without a blink from those who are hearing him.  He is in his glory when you are in his audience–"to pontificate, to lead" seems to be his motto.


    I said to my friends here in New Zealand that Obama had absolutely no experience to lead the US and I was shunned! Looks like the Democrats have their own verson of Ronald Regan!

  6. What’s in a campaign slogan?

    In the 1960’s, actor Richard Kiel (a fellow-believer) starred as a space alien in a classic episode of The Twilight Zone. In this show, he showed his goodwill toward humanity by having them look at the cover of his book named, "To Serve Man". Gullible earthlings ran in masses to board his spaceship to travel to his utopia. In the show’s final scene, one distraught lady realized too late, the book entitled "To Serve Man"…was a cook book.

    "Change" is what we need? We may get it.

    When all the money is borrowed and spent to build any visions of a new utopia, all we may have left is pocket "change".

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