Friday, March 19, 2010

Leadership in Washington: Spinelessness is a bipartisan Issue

My fellow blogger Glenn Greenwald is at it again - pointing out obvious fallacies in the positions of politicians who seem to think they don't need to hold themselves accountable to their own standards:

Whatever else is true, the American Right is now openly siding with a foreign government against their own, and bitterly Blaming America for these problems. They're protecting this foreign government's actions even though our top Generals say those actions undermine our war effort and directly endanger American troops. They're advocating policies -- such as the Israeli bombing of Iran -- which America's Joint Chiefs Chairman has gravely warned will seriously impede our wars and lead to the deaths of our soldiers. They're demeaning the top American General with command responsibility for two theaters of war. And, in a Time of War, they're attacking the President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief -- and relentlessly depicting him as weak and inept -- all because he's prioritizing American interests over those of a foreign country. All of that seems to severely breach the standards of Patriotism they have long advocated and which have long prevailed, to put that rather mildly.

I leave you to read Glenn's well reasoned derivation of how we got to this point, and why its bad for us, but I'll add a few thoughts from a Leadership perspective.

Leading people requires integrity - your words and actions need to match, and when they diverge you better have a really good explanation for it. I think Congressman Dennis Kuchinich's statement about why he is voting for the healthcare bill is a great example of that integrity at work (though Glenn is right - it will make it hard for Washington to take Progressives seriously)

Unfortunately, far-Right Neocons are violating this cardinal rule of leadership, and further exposing why so many Americans will, I hope, continue to give them the short shaft. If the President does something right when he's in your Party, that thing is still right when the President of the opposing Party does it. Ditto for an American general who is trying to fight a war that no one but neocon hawks still wants America to be involved in (never mind the lying to get into it in the first place).

Bottom line - what you say does matter, especially when you come off as an opportunist, when you were for something before you were against it (!); when you promise to enact a Public Option when you are campaigning and then work behind closed doors to kill it after you get elected. That's not integrity - its political opportunism, and it turns my stomach.

Are you listening Mr. President?

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