Leading By Polls
One of the easiest ways I found to determine which category someone would fit into was how they made hard decisions. Anyone can make easy decisions, if everything in life was easy we'd all be great leaders and exceptional managers.
Tough decisions though, are where the (figurative) men are separated from the boys in leadership. I worked for over a dozen commanding officers in the Navy, all of them senior Captains (O-6). The four I considered "great Captains" had one trait in common, popularity was never a concern of their's. Strangely, those four were also the most popular of the group. The single trait that made 3 of the others wildly unpopular was being control freaks. They lived by the motto "My way or the highway".
What am I getting at with this? Well the Democratic party just released their long awaited "Security Plan" yesterday. One of the things that I noticed as I read about it in a few different papers was that one of the major ways they put this plan together was through polling.
I've never met a great leader, or even a fairly good one, who determined how to lead by conducting a survey and then picking the popular choice, or the most resonant buzz words. Yet that's how the Democrats have determined what should be in their security plan, and how they should word it.
One of the talking points they'll use this year before the election is eliminating terroristm by "combating the economic, social and political conditions that allow extremism to thrive." That sounds great, but exactly how do you do that? Well changing the social and political conditions in many of these countries would require a spreading of democratic prinicples. Which sounds an awful lot like what George Bush has been preaching for the last 5 years.
They've also reworded most of the John Murtha proposals for Iraq to sound less like "cut and run", but still remain essentially that. By "redeploying forces" and having a "significant transition in Iraq", they come to the same place they were, but with words that make it sound less like abandonment.
Their first point will become harder to achieve if they carry out their plans for Iraq. Why? Well when other countries see that things are tough, so we bolted out the door, they are going to be much less receptive to US thoughts on changing their countries way of doing things. They'll question if we'll stick with them through good and bad.
Do I think George Bush has done everything right in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or in the broader "war on terror"? No, I don't, however what I do think is that he's been willing to stick with what he believes is the best course for the long run, instead of the popular one for the short run.
When you take a long look back at history it's easy to find presidents who are remembered as failures. Normally they were the one's who followed the popular course of action, instead of the right one. They took the easy road, where they would encounter less resistance, and later the country got to pay for it.
Chris has more up on this at The Fix.
Black Five has nice rant about this also.
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