Category Archives: Leadership

Leader of the pack

“Czar wars.  Nothing but…czar wars.”

Ah, where’s Bill Murray when you need him?  Yep, we got ourselves an “Ebola czar.”  And it’s about time too.  We needed someone to head the fight against this plague.  Like a Marvel Comics movie, he joins a team of plague-fighters.  “Czars assemble!  Ebola czar!  Drug czar!  Faith-based czar!  Asian carp czar!”  I can’t make this up.  We have an Asian carp czar.  And what could possibly be more czars than Russia.

Of course, it’s not enough, is it?  Another health care worker returned home with the virus, this time to New York.  Texas Senator Ted Cruz and other fear-mongers say we need to stop flights from West Africa.  He wants to shut down the southern border.  Several Republicans who pressed for a czar came out against the choice of Ron Klain  because he’s a political insider and not a health care professional.  As Dr. “Bones” McCoy would say, “Dammit, Jim!  He’s a lawyer, not a doctor!”

And the “leadership” bandwagon’s getting mighty full.  In the last couple weeks, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta released a book slamming President Obama on his leadership.  Our two favorite war-mongers, Arizona senator John McCain and South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham brought up a “lack of leadership” in the White House in talking about ISIS.  Even former CNN host Piers Morgan went on Fox News and ripped the President for the same thing.  Looks like it’s time to revoke that petition to deport him for attacking the Second Amendment.

If Morgan sees it, it must be true.  This new Washington Post poll shows the President’s underwater on his handling of the Ebola crisis.  We wanted him to do more.  Prevent the six infected American health care workers from returning here for treatment.  Stop West African travelers from coming into the country.  Make sure the CDC and local hospitals were prepared to handle Thomas Eric Duncan and any others who may become infected.

And these aren’t the only issues.  The President pulled our troops out of Iraq too soon, and let ISIS take over.  He played golf right after a press conference on the beheading of American journalist James Foley.  He lied to us when he said, under the Affordable Care Act, “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”  He allowed Justin Bieber into the country.  All these things add up to one thing:  a failure in leadership.

But, in my opinion, the failure lies elsewhere.  I believe we, the people, set our presidents up to fail.  We’re like that woman who asks if she looks fat in her jeans.  Guys, you know what I’m talking about.  You stand there, nervous, reluctant to answer, not knowing if she wants the truth, or just wants you to reinforce her hotness.  You’d rather have your toenails ripped out than answer the question.  That’s what we do to our elected officials.  After 238 years, we still haven’t decided whether they should do what we want, or what they believe is best.  Do we want them to tell us what we want to hear, or what we NEED to hear?

Scholars and political insiders back up my claim.  This commentary on CNN.com talks about why a president MUST lie to us.  That’s right, lie.  And not only lie, but do it well if he or she wants to succeed.  Why?  Because nothing would get done if they didn’t.  Think about the movie Lincoln.  I assume most of you saw it.  My wife and I did recently.  And after watching it, I thought, “We bitch and moan about presidential leadership, about honesty, integrity and trust.  And I just spent three hours watching one nicknamed “Honest Abe” lie, buy votes, and admit he may have violated the Constitution in order to get the 13th Amendment passed ending slavery.  And we LOVED it!”

You can’t just blame past Americans for it.  We act like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton deserve places on Mt. Rushmore.  We love them for crossing party lines, building up the economy, and talking to us in ways we understood.  Did you forget they lied to our faces on national television?  Reagan’s lie about not trading arms for hostages with Iran nearly led to an attempted impeachment.  “Slick Willy’s” “slick willy” almost got him impeached after he lied about his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky.

As Col. Jessup yelled in A Few Good Men, “You can’t handle the truth!”  And the truth is, we don’t have any idea what we want.  This Washington Post article backs that up.  Some of you disapprove of President Obama’s gun policy because you think he wants to take away your guns.  Others disapprove because he hasn’t done enough to pass tighter gun laws.  On immigration, disapprovers either don’t like the President’s push for amnesty, or believe he hasn’t pushed hard enough to get it.

And now he faces the same situation with Ebola.  Experts tell us a travel ban doesn’t work.  They say we need to take the fight to West Africa, and take the time to learn more about the virus and how to fight it.  But some of us don’t want to hear that.  With Ebola on our doorstep, many of you want a president who simply locks the door.

I tell my wife, “If you come home from work and find your mother dead in the living room with me holding a bloody knife, the first words out of your mouth should be, “Where do you think we should hide the body?”  I need that support.  Presidents need that support.  To be a good leader, you need good followers.  People who trust a decision and hope it works even when they don’t believe it will.  When everyone criticizes a president, they can’t succeed.  And when they succeed, we all succeed.  Isn’t that common sense?

Maybe we need a “Common sense” czar to join the team.  Czars assemble!!