Thursday, August 30, 2007

Politics or Leadership

I’m going to do more quoting than usual in today’s post again today, and again it’s because my reference, Cenk Uygur in A Test of Leadership on The Huffington Post today says it better than I would have put it. Go there and read his entire post.

That being said, it is no excuse for the candidates to cower behind the system and say they couldn't lead because the media wouldn't let them. Not exactly a profile in courage. [snip]

Leadership is not casting a vote in the middle of the night and then running away. Leadership is not waiting to the last moment to see how the other candidates vote. Leadership is not polling to see how issues are going to play in the primaries and the general election.

That ”casting a vote in the middle of the night” refers, of course, to the last Iraq war funding bill where both Obama and Clinton waited until the bill has received enough votes to pass and it was late at night when no one was likely to be watching on Cspan before quietly casting votes against the bill. They were against the bill but made no actual effort to prevent its passage.

So will the vaunted leader and front-runner Senator Hillary Clinton be able to lead the fight against Bush's war stance in September? Will she even try? Does she even know what it means to lead others? Has she ever tried?

Screeching invective at the current executive is not leadership, it’s politics.

Making promises about what you will do if elected is not leadership, that too is politics. Especially since most of what you are promising is not within the power of the office you are seeking, and even that portion which could be done you almost certainly allow to be blocked by the moneyed interests who have funded your campaign.

The one place that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been in a position to demonstrate leadership is a seat in the U.S. Senate, and how have they used that opportunity? John McCain led a fight against the torture bill, albeit an abortive one. Ungyar mentions Senator Feingold, who is indeed a leader in the Senate, leading a fight against the Patriot Act and the FISA Bill. When has Clinton or Obama stood up in the Senate and actually tried to influence any action the Senate was about to take?

Leadership is not blaming or seeking power. Leadership is taking a position in which you believe and acting in a manner to influence others to join you in that position. Acting. Leading not just with words but with actions. To be a leader it is not sufficient to talk about principles and beliefs, one must be those principles and beliefs.

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