Friday, May 18, 2012

Thinking About Leadership

David Brooks has a good column this morning about the way in which democratic leadership has deteriorated over time.

Here's an excerpt:
Leaders today do not believe their job is to restrain popular will. Their job is to flatter and satisfy it. A gigantic polling apparatus has developed to help leaders anticipate and respond to popular whims. Democratic politicians adopt the mind-set of marketing executives. Give the customer what he wants. The customer is always right.  
Having lost a sense of their own frailty, many voters have come to regard their desires as entitlements. They become incensed when their leaders are not responsive to their needs. Like any normal set of human beings, they command their politicians to give them benefits without asking them to pay.
This captures one of my disappointments with President Obama. I thought he would do a better job of getting out in-front of issues (proactively leading). I wanted him to use the bully pulpit to re-frame our national/civic priorities.

Instead, as per Brooks's piece, Obama often simply reflects where we are as a society. This strikes me as a betrayal of his 2008 rhetoric.

541. Is my hope for Presidential leadership unrealistic given our fractured politics? Can American democracy be reinvigorated / reformed so that it works better?

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The G-8 leaders are meeting at Camp David over the weekend. There's a great long-form piece about the camp -- and its relationship with the nearby town of Thurmont -- in this morning's Post (here).

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