“Leaders” who can’t lead

Many, many years ago when I was first appointed a “manager”, my boss told me (and I don’t know if he was quoting someone):

Those who can lead , lead;
those who can’t lead, follow;
and those who think they can lead but can’t, blame others”


President Obama has a Democratic majority in the Senate to help him and a Republican majority in the House to carry along with him.  History will judge how much he accomplished during his terms but it is pretty clear – so far – that he takes few risks and has not been very successful in carrying his opponents towards any vision that he can communicate. For a US President I think “leadership” is manifested in being able to carry the country towards his vision even with the Senate and the House under the control of his opponents. That he has his own supporters with him is hardly any evidence of his leadership abilities. But there are 53 Democrats in the Senate . Yet he couldn’t even get all his own Democrats to stick their necks out, let alone the 7 Republicans he needed to get to the 60 required to make the cut.

Yesterday every single one of his proposals on gun control (nine in all) “failed to make the cut” in the Senate. Even the fairly innocuous measure of background checks on those wishing to purchase firearms was defeated. Inevitably the blame game began with an angry Obama blaming the Senate and the NRA and proclaiming that it was a shameful day for Washington.

Personally I think the US needs additional gun controls but that is not my point here. President Obama may prove to be an adequate administrator, but a leader he is not. He may well be one who thinks he can lead but can’t and so just ends up blaming others. A “follower” who ends up travelling in the wrong direction has few grounds for complaint.

Washington Post: 

President Obama’s ambitious effort to overhaul the nation’s gun laws in response to December’s school massacre in Connecticut suffered a resounding defeat Wednesday, when every major proposal he championed fell apart on the Senate floor.

It was a stunning collapse for gun-control advocates just four months after the deaths of 20 children and six adults in Newtown led the president and many others to believe that the political climate on guns had been altered in their favor. …… 

…..  One by one, the Senate blocked or defeated proposals that would ban certain military-style assault rifles and limit the size of ammunition magazines.

But the biggest setback for the White House was the defeat of a measure to expand background checks to most gun sales. The Senate defied polls showing that nine in 10 Americans support the idea, which was designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

“All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” a visibly angry Obama said as he delivered his response to the nation.

The president was flanked by Newtown families, a scowling Vice President Biden and former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was shot in 2011 in Tucson and limped from the Oval Office to join Obama in the Rose Garden. ….. 

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One Response to ““Leaders” who can’t lead”

  1. cranstonholden Says:

    Good Post!!!

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