The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

obama isn't picking his battles, he's choosing defeat

July26

According to the WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama on [Thursday] blamed immigration policy gridlock on: “political posturing and special interest wrangling.”

In a speech only a few weeks ago at American University, Obama took Republicans to task, in particular eleven (11) GOP senators who supported recent efforts to improve the immigration system. He did not name any in particular, but told his largely supportive audience at American University that those lawmakers had succumbed to the “pressures of partisanship and election-year politics.”

“Reform that brings accountability to our immigration system cannot pass without Republican votes,” he said. “That is the political and mathematical reality”.

“The question now is whether we will have the courage and the political will to pass a bill through Congress, to finally get it done,” the president said. “I’m ready to move forward, the majority of Democrats are ready to move forward and I believe the majority of Americans are ready to move forward. But the fact is that without bipartisan support, as we had just a few years ago, we cannot solve this problem.”

So… There is a touch of irony amidst Obama’s words. There is, perhaps, a question around impatience.

In my experience, and thusly, my view, great leaders are patient (think Founding Fathers) – and, they never cave quickly.

Many never cave, period.

For perspective, here, it took all of six months for Obama to abandon the health care reform Democrats have fought decades for. That kind of impatience is a surefire recipe for leadership failure: adversaries know they can get the better of you with little investment.

There is a paralysis by committee pervading his team(s). I seeing that one of Obama’s best definable failures as a leader is the homogeneity in perspectives and attitudes of those closest to him. His economic advisors – Larry Summers and Tim Geithner – share a similarly orthodox economic mindset. Numerous eminent economists have complained vociferously about being frozen out – they can’t gain access to Obama. Sound familiar? It should: organizational closure is the same mistake prior-president George Bush (“Dubya”) made  – he surrounded himself with neocons, and when their ideas failed, so did his presidency (you can argue it was like running a business on a spread-sheet and a Line-of-Credit), and the nation.

Leaders should identify and name adversaries. When anonymous forces derail you, it’s game over. Sun Tzu taught many of us that in College. Every great leader humanizes his opponents, because every opponent is a human with a human agenda. Obama’s now associated with “death panels” courtesy of Newt Gingrich (who now thinks he can be the president, himself), Sarah Palin, and Glenn Beck – but, Obama hasn’t traced the meretricious attack back to its source, which would effectively neutralize it.

Sell out, instead of buying in. Lately, I get the sense that Obama has confused leadership with salesmanship. Leaders aren’t salesmen because leaders aren’t sellers: they’re buyers. Right? They buy into shared interests instead of selling out to conflicting interests. In a way, that was the point of Arthur Miller’s play: Willy Loman ended up broke, alone, and defeated because he couldn’t lead anyone, anywhere, to anything – because he was too busy selling. Instead of buying in, Willy was selling out. I have gone into more detail around that with an earlier post: obama on selling high and buying low. Sound familiar? It should: striking deals that are riddled with pervasive conflicts of interest has become a hallmark of the Obama Presidency.

…now what?

I don’t have an immediate solution for Obama. I’ll submit that’s a tough job. But, I’m willing to walk with him. While doing so, I’d likely ask him to maintain a litany in his head that consists of: Communication, Alignment, Decisiveness and Accountability.

I coach that in business. I run my own businesses and family that way. I even coach my youth soccer teams under those tenants. More about all that to be sure. But, now we have the issues in the light. That offers scienter. So, we must, as a community rally one-to-the other, and our president, speak out and hold him accountable.

I’m raising my hand. I’ll help. And, I will try and live my own life by example.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

2 Comments to

“obama isn't picking his battles, he's choosing defeat”

  1. Avatar July 26th, 2010 at 4:16 pm BB Webb Says:

    Relevant post to me in many ways Brian…and good to see you speaking in this direction. Of particular interest to me was your leadership thoughts around ‘Communication, Alignment, Decisiveness and Accountability.’ Looking back on my past weekend of events, month and 2 years….these have clearly been areas I’ve worked to become aware of and hone in my business. That reminder and your thought on ‘buying in’ vs. ‘selling out’ hit a chord with me for some current business challenges I face. I continue to light candles in the dark. Thank you, I needed that spark for my flame! BB


  2. Avatar July 26th, 2010 at 4:38 pm Brian Patrick Cork Says:

    Thanks BB.

    We can all light candles in different ways. This means shedding light on good and bad and creating thoughts that become beacons and rallying points for the best that is in all of us joined together.

    Cork


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