Tuesday, March 15, 2005

What do we want in a President ?

On a post from the Chemist an interesting question arose. What do we expect from a President ?

I expect leadership and vision in my president. The President must make tough choices and some of them will be unpopular. This is the reality of anyone who is a manager or owns a business. There are long term goals and one is not going to please everyone. As a manager of a department with 25 workers I faced this dilemma on a small scale. The eventual thing I learned was that it was stupid to even try. The task at hand was always of utmost priority. My job as a manager was to set the priorities and distribute resourcs . This is what a President does each and every day on a much larger scale.
The Chemist suggested that he sees nothing wrong with a President that uses focus groups. I strongly disagree with that idea. I find it odd that he then blast the cabinet as yes men. Essentially, what he wants is a yes man in the White House. The job of the President is not to stick his finger in the air and check the direction of the wind.
A President is elected for his leadership and vision. People think that intelligence is the most important charachteristic of a good manger. This is not true at all in the real world. The ability to set priorities , leadership and delegation are more important than intelligence.


The Disgruntled Chemist said...

Let's look at an example of where focus groups (or at least advisors who aren't afraid to say "no") might be beneficial: Social Security privatization, of which Bush is an enthusiastic proponent.

It will not help. This is based on past failure in Britian, and on the statements of many officials who say that privatization will have to be combined with benefit cuts to make any difference. Needless to say, Bush does not want to cut benefits.
People do not want it. This is acknowledged (support is at 37%, only 16% of it strong support).

Unfortunately, Bush doesn not listen to the people or to history, even recent history. So these things are not acknowledged by him. And he pushes ahead, and may succeed in enacting policy that a majority of Americans not only do not support, but feel will be bad for their country.

And this is effective leadership...how? The President is an elected official. He owes it to the people who put him in office to take positions that they agree with. Having 16% of the country support your proposal is not following the will of the people. What if the new Iraq government took some action that only 16% of that country strongly supported? Hell, we'd probably invade again.

This is no way to run a democracy. We don't need a "strongman" leader, who will just do whatever the hell he wants despite what the entire country is telling him. We elected this guy (well, you did) to do what the country wants him to do.

beakerkin said...

We elect officials to represent the people . A President his judgement and leadership are on the ballot. Is the use of polls and focus groups merely political Yes men in DC ? Was this the mentality you thought harmful in the cabinet.
Part of Leadership is making unpopular choices. The most popular choice is often not the best option.
The role of the press and the people are to inform our officials.
The role of the elected officials is to act in the interest of the country. Most of the time these are the same but not always.
You are right I voted for Bush . I did have an unusual score 83% Republican 67% Democrat 50% Anarchist.
What does leadership and vision mean to you ? To me it means making tough choices.

beakerkin said...

Pertinent fact the ISM was the organization that Rachel Corrie belonged to. Two Muslims afiliated with that group commited a homicide bombing in Tel Aviv. There have also been incedents of ISM members smuggling weapons.

You can view this on David Horowitz's DTN site.

Warren said...

The job of the President is leadership, not sticking his finger up to see which way the wind blows.

There is something screwy with the poll you cited. While it shows only 37% approval, deeper in the poll it shows 56% approval for private investment of SS contributions. That is the only thing the president has proposed. What do you suppose is the reason for seeming contradictory poll numbers in the same poll?

Could it be the ads that the DNC is running claiming that "Bush's Social Security plan will cause a reduction of 40% in benefits"?

That is out and out false, but I'm sure it will strike a note with people who don't know any better.

You cite the British plan which by all accounts was/is a dismal failure. People were allowed to invest in almost anything and investing in individual stocks is gambling. Remember the Tech Stock crash? When people speculate and stock prices inflate, somebody is going to loose big time in the inevitable market adjustment.

However, you didn't cite Chile's which is a resounding success.