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Posted by on Mar 30, 2010 in At TMV, Health, Politics | 23 comments

Leadership And The Will Of The People

Harry Truman risked the permanent division of the Democratic Party, watching Dixiecrats walk out of the convention to form their own party in 1948. He stood by his convictions on desegregation with his own reelection at stake.

In an act of politicallly suicidal patriotism, Gerald Ford knowingly threw away his chances to be elected President in his own right when he pardoned Richard Nixon to help the country heal after Watergate.

Recently Barack Obama put his political capital on the line to push through a publicly unpopular Health Care bill, knowing a majority opposed it and that it would likely cost his party seats in the mid term elections. In the process he went from having been elected to the presidency to being the President. Some in congress voted with him knowing it could spell doom for their political careers. Whether you agree with HCR as some do, or disagree with many of its provisions as others do, political courage and leadership were on display.

Change is often a winning slogan, but is almost never popular in its execution. Leadership involves the courage to push forward with change in the face of strongly voiced opposition, understanding the unpredictability of the new world you are creating and the risks that attend those decisions.

COMMENTS/DISCUSSION welcome at Disqus enabled Thread One.

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Copyright 2010 The Moderate Voice
  • shannonlee

    Great change always comes at a price. The greatest are usually paid for in blood. I’m still worried about the security of the President.

    • tidbits

      Shannonlee,

      Thanks as always for the comment. From reading other comments of yours yesterday/today, it sounds like you’re going away. Hope not, but if you do, stop by once in a while to say hello.

  • JSpencer

    It will probably take some time before HCR fears are allayed and the polarized positioning starts to break up, but there are other matters of import that need to be focused on now. Hopefully both parties can try harder to work in good faith toward solutions for the economy, social security, etc. It would also be nice if all the demonizing could be toned down before some nutcase does something terrible.

    • DLS

      “It will probably take some time before HCR fears are allayed and the polarized positioning starts to break up”

      It will be about as long as it takes us to learn what the details of the new federal laws are.

    • tidbits

      JSpencer,

      Toning down all demonizing would be a welcome development. You’ve gotten tougher since you changed avatars to the liberal tiger.

  • Rambie

    “Recently Barack Obama put his political capital on the line to push through a publicly unpopular Health Care bill, knowing a majority opposed it… or disagree with many of its provisions as others do, political courage and leadership were on display.”

    Depends what polls you were looking at and how the questions were asked. I agree Dems will likely loose seats this Nov, but passing the bill probably will save others. As usual, the Dems were looking weak & ineffectual, this shows that (at least some) have a backbone. I agreed with passing HCR and also I disagree with many of it’s provisions.

    • tidbits

      Rambie,

      Well, polls are a dime a dozen these days. Most I’ve seen show overall disapproval as a whole with support for certain key provisions. Keep up the good fight.

  • DLS

    “Recently Barack Obama put his political capital on the line to push through a publicly unpopular Health Care bill, knowing a majority opposed it and that it would likely cost his party seats in the mid term elections.”

    Definitely a risk on Obama’s part. Of course, there was a greater possible loss by Congressional Dems if the legislation had failed to pass.

    That it may have been due to actual confidence of passage, from inside information (as is hinted by his interference with the New York elections months ago, and then we learned about the scandal once it became public knowledge), is minor here.

    The Dems had to pass this or be disparaged as failures not only by the far left but by other Dem voters.

    • tidbits

      As always, DLS, an interesting perspective.

  • casualobserver

    I used the link to disqus to try it out……….I think that solution should work out pretty well.

    It looks like everyone will be able to see the comment thread there and it should be just like now except on a page that is separated from the OP.

    • tidbits

      CO,

      Looks like we will be able to continue our history of constant agreement. 🙂 Thanks for running the test.

  • JSpencer

    Shannon, your concerns are clearly warranted. Anyone in doubt should listen to this edition of Fresh Air:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124906766

    Thanks for the info CO, that’s good to know.

  • $199537

    One person’s courage and leadership is another’s unilateral blundering. We’ll have to see how things turn out.

    • tidbits

      DaGoat,

      Agree that time will tell. I like your practical approach.

  • CStanley

    Yeah, it takes courage for a leader to take people where they don’t want to go. But the question of whether or not they’ll thank him for it later depends on whether he made a wise choice in selecting the destination, and we won’t know the answer to that for a while.

    If it’s a good destination, generally people can be persuaded to go, and the fact that there was little to no persuasion used to convince the people who didn’t already like the travel brochures, suggests to me that we might not be on the way to paradise.

    • tidbits

      CS,

      Paradise is what you make of it. Thanks for the warning about Mikkel on the other thread. 🙂

  • Schadenfreude_lives

    So, I assume it was a simple oversight not to credit George Bush for his leadership (and) courage to push forward…in the face of strongly voiced opposition, understanding the unpredictability of the new world (he was) creating and the risks that attend those decisions.

    I mean, it obviously was an oversight, because those traits are so praiseworthy as noted, and that is indeed what he did.

    • tidbits

      schAdenfReude,

      “So, I assume it was a simple oversight not to credit George Bush for his leadership (and) courage ”

      Geez, I hate to be disagreeable, today of all days, but! While there was strongly voiced opposition from a minority, Bush enjoyed a 90% approval rating after 9/11 when he pushed forward things like The Patriot Act and the invasion of Afghanistan. The decision to invade Iraq enjoyed 79% approval at the time (Casual Observer fact checked me once when I said it was 80%).

      Some of those things later became unpopular, and he pressed forward nonetheless. If that’s your reference, I take your point.

      • Schadenfreude_lives

        I was thinking specifically of The Surge.

        • tidbits

          OK, that’s valid.

    • $199537

      So, I assume it was a simple oversight not to credit George Bush for his leadership (and) courage to push forward…in the face of strongly voiced opposition, understanding the unpredictability of the new world (he was) creating and the risks that attend those decisions.

      Really Bush is who I was thinking of with my earlier comment – I would say he technically exhibited courage and leadership in both his decision on the initial invasion of Iraq and also the Surge. Since the Surge turned out fairly well but the initial invasion did not, although his behaviors were similar in both instances they will be perceived very differently based on outcome.

      On Obama, I think history will treat him kindly on health care reform. Although it will worsen the deficit and almost certainly lead eventually to higher taxes, the negative effects will be shifted mostly into the future. I could see Obama getting credit for the positives and a future president taking the heat for raising taxes.

  • kathykattenburg

    I’m worried about Pres. Obama’s safety, too. This growing right-wing militia movement really scares me. And what’s even scarier than the movement itself is the cavalier way mainstream (supposedly) conservatives are responding to it — even defending it!

  • JSpencer

    Bush enjoyed a 90% approval rating after 9/11

    Of course that short-lived rating was based on a common, unified reaction against a perceived enemy rather than any particular endorsement of GWB. It wouldn’t have mattered who was at the helm at that moment in history; we Americans were ALL ready to kick ass. Unfortunately the invasion of Iraq was not the right ass to kick.

    As for my avatar, well… I’m actually a pretty mellow, easy going guy in “real” life. 🙂

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