Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Leadership qualities, in no particular order

By Carol Gee

We see our next national leader parading through the news of the day. To select the best of the lot we will soon need to pay close attention to each of these people, since the election happens in the next few months. Some of us are beginning to narrow our choices; some are still resisting. Some bloggers are going public with endorsements; some have probably already made their pick, but are not yet telling. I am in the latter group.

But I do have some leadership criteria. We need a smart principled person with a sense of history, and feet on the ground. These are not unreasonable traits, and can best be illustrated with examples. As I was catching up with the latest "buzz" this morning, a few criteria elements in my favorite bloggers' posts caught my eye as pertinent to leadership questions of qualification.

The President of the United States must have a modicum of sanity. We have nice contrasts among the current candidates of both parties. I am with Dennis Kucinich in this assessment of our current president (OCP). From the AP at Yahoo! News: "Kucinich questions Bush's mental health." To quote:

Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich questioned President Bush's mental health in light of comments he made about a nuclear Iran precipitating World War III.

"I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health," Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, said in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer's editorial board on Tuesday. "There's something wrong. He does not seem to understand his words have real impact."

The President of the United States must uphold the Constitution. Here's one blogger's opinion offering a strong contrast to OCP's long-standing disdain for the rule of law. posted this: "A Time For True Leadership: Chris Dodd for President" (hat tip to the Mahablog for this). To quote:

. . . Dodd has been at his best most recently in showing immense leadership and the truest understanding of our nation's meaning in standing strong against attempts by the Bush administration to let telecommunications companies off the hook for aiding and abetting the White House in their illegal domestic spying on American citizens. Despite little support from his Senate colleagues and eerie initial silence from his fellow presidential candidates, Dodd came out and said last week that he would place a Senatorial "hold" on any bill granting immunity to companies that have assisted George W. Bush in spying on Americans without required warrants and announced that he would filibuster any such legislation to keep it from passing.

The President of the United States must have strong principles. The current administration provides us with the most unprincipled model I can imagine. But Andrew Sullivan's post "America Fights Back" on The Daily Dish at The Atlantic, describes shining exceptions -- by example principled men -- within those Republican ranks. I quote:

Whenever I have gotten too depressed about what has happened to this country these past few years, it helps to recall that almost all the abuses of decency, justice and transparency under the Bush administration have been exposed by many decent, professional individuals within the government itself. For every Geoffrey Miller, there has been an Ian Fishback. For every David Addington, there has been a Jack Goldsmith. And there have been some surprises: three cheers for John Ashcroft, for example, a man I often derided, but whose integrity has shone brightly under the more exacting light of history.

The President of the United States must possess a modicum of intelligence. Blogger "lapopessa" illustrated, with "US Stands Firm!" that intellect is a prime requisite for any new United States leader, in contrast to the current one's abysmal foreign policy ignorance. To quote her sardonic words,

So it's with relief I heard that Bush has reaffirmed our embargo against Cuba. Yup. Since 1963, the US has refused to trade with Cuba. Because once you start trading with those Commies, then the next step is red flags marching down US streets. Except, wait, isn't trade with China the administration's antidote to communism there?

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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