Friday, April 16, 2010

Leadership in Washington -Compromise shouldn't be a dirty word

I've written a lot in this blog about government accountability - and especially the former Bush Administrations infamous disregard for the ideas and ideals of the public it claimed to serve. So it is with great interest that I read this today in the Washington Post:

That said, however, great leaders must also have their fingers on the pulse of their constituencies and be willing to reach out to the displeased among the ranks when necessary. While full policy reversals aren't advisable based solely on the public's whims, a healthy dialogue can often open leaders' eyes to viewpoints they haven't considered or options that were previously unseen. Because leaders often can't generate the results they seek without a broad base of support, they must always be attuned to the public sentiment to know when greater efforts at compromise or communication are required.

Now two things you should consider when reading this: first, the author was a political appointee in the George Bush '43 Administration. Second, he'd likely have been fired had he made this statement publicly back then. Both credentials give me pause, especially the second one. If this is really a deeply held core view of his, he should never have worked for the Bush White House.

Now having said that, let me say this - he is also 100% right, particularly about the listening and compromising part. Several of the other posts in the set make similar points, and I sincerely hope the Obama White House AND Republican leadership are reading this and taking it to heart. Otherwise, they will go down in history not as leaders, but a mere politicians, and our Nation will be poorer for it.

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