Leading like Lincoln
January 30, 2010
@CitizenChandler in Health Care, Obama, Politics

I want to start off by saying that when I created this site I did not intend for it to be overly political.  In fact the goal was to get members of the LGBT community to share their story in the hopes of aiding in advancing LGBT rights through contact.  Contact in the sense that people who view the site could get many different views on life in the LGBT community and not just what is portrayed in the media.  The Lifestyle blog was a concept that my friend Brian and I came up with so that anyone could share aspects of their lifestyle with the world.  That concept remains.  Anyone who wants to blog is encouraged to contact us and we will either post a one time blog by you or will be happy to create for you an account that gives you access to blog as often as you like.

What this has turned into in very short order is what amounts to a political commentary blog.  This has happened because I am the one who has been doing the majority of the blogging and because politics is a huge part of my life, so it still is appropriate for the “Lifestyle” blog.  It will continue to be this way until others add things, but I do not want that to scare people off.  Please by all means contribute what you like when you like.  With that said here comes yet another political blog but perhaps one that is less partisan than some of my previous posts.

Yesterday President Obama ventured to the GOP retreat in Baltimore Maryland where he gave a speech and then entertained some questions from the Republicans that were present.  With no teleprompter and no notes he answered each of their questions, gave factually accurate rebuttals to their accusations and pointed out why politics the way they are being conducted cannot serve the country.

I don’t care who you are; you have to admit that it was an impressive spectacle, especially when you consider that it all played out on television.  Pundits are comparing it to Question Time that takes place in the British parliament.  For those who don’t know, Question Time is when the Prime Minister and other government ministers face parliament where they are grilled with question after question.  If you have never seen it, I highly suggest watching it.  The difference here is that Obama was only facing Republicans instead of both Democrats and Republicans.

While this is a new event in politics today, this is a page directly from Lincoln’s playbook.  President Lincoln was an excellent leader not because of what he did, but because of how he did it.

Lincoln had a very specific style and process to his leadership, mainly that he would ask someone to do something and if they didn’t he would follow up with them.  The best place to see this is in his dealings with his military officers, which parallels what Obama is doing now.  Lincoln would make a request, and if it was not completed he would go to the officer personally and speak with them, try to persuade them to do what he wanted.  In the end if they did not follow Lincoln’s orders and requests he would replace them.

Here we see Obama who has made the request that Democrats and Republicans work together to pass legislation, notably health care reform.  His request has fallen on seemingly deaf ears, so we see Obama going to the Republicans and speaking to them directly.  Obama did not make them come to him, he went to them; in terms of leadership this is a very strong move.  It shows that Obama has respect for them and appreciates their participation (or perceived participation).  If they continue to block his plans, in the Lincoln model he would fire them, but since Obama cannot do that he is framing it in a different way.

In his meeting with Republicans today Obama made it very clear that the Republicans themselves have created a noose that is getting tighter and tighter around the party.  By calling his plans socialist and over the top they have made doing business with Obama toxic for themselves.  However, Obama has set the stage so that the Republicans can either continue to block progress and make sure that nothing happens, or they can back off from their rhetoric a bit and meet him halfway to help move forward legislation to help the American People.

I think that this is great politically for Obama but more importantly for this country.  It will be interesting to see how the Republican Party responds to today’s events.  I would also like to see Obama speak in a similar manner to the Democrats, and perhaps we will see that in the coming weeks.

If you missed today’s events there are two embedded clips below.  The first is a clip of the speech that Obama gave, and the second is the question and answer session that followed.  How do you think he did?  Your comments are welcome!



 

A Recommended Read:

Lincoln on Leadership

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