It’s 3AM in the morning…

Okay, now that you’ve probably seen the Hillary Clinton commercial a couple of times, and maybe Barak Obama’s comeback too, you ask yourself, “who can I trust to make that tough decision when there’s a crisis somewhere in the world?” Well, this may shock you, but neither of them will make that decision alone. Both of them will probably come to the same conclusion! Why? Well, just like the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Yom Kippur War, and 9/11, the president convenes his/her National Security Council and it is this group that decides how the government will respond to the crisis. No president is ever going to make a crisis decision alone. Instead, it is made by consensus. Whether Clinton or Obama is elected president, you can bet that they will both be talking to competent decision makers.Now, just in case you didn’t see the commercial, here it is. (with a wee bit modification) View video.
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6 Responses

  1. Good thought – about the NSC, and the group of “advisors” around the President. I wish to contest one sentence in your blog, however. You said, “… and it is this group that decides how the government will respond …” Not so. The group doesn’t decide. One opinion, from one individual, will rule the day. He or she will decide. A group can’t. A group can arrive at consensus; a person makes a decision. The Supreme Court “decides” a case by majority – not consensus. And even then, dissenting opinions go into the record. So … I ask the question, “Barack or Hillary – which person do you wish to make ‘the call?'” One of them will be advised, and then one of them will decide which course of action will be taken. True?

  2. Lowell, Your point is well-noted and well-taken. However, I will argue your point on group decision making. I think I understand the specific point you were making, and it may be only a matter of semantics, but in general terms, groups do make decisions and they are made by consensus. It’s done every day. That’s democracy in action. If your point is to stress that, in this case the president could overrule the group, you’re right. I think both Hillary and Obama are inclined to follow the group’s decision. That would be “their decision.”

    Making these kind of critical decisions has a lot to do with the style of leadership the president subscribes to. Most politicians these days lead by creating an environment or system of consensus. Some people have suggested that that isn’t leadership, but instead, merely “poll” vaulting. I agree that some”one” has to make the final decision. After all, the buck has to stop somewhere and some “one” is gonna be the hero or goat.
    In Bobby Kennedy’s book, “Thirteen Days,” he makes note of how JFK ‘s view of rejecting nuclear war at all costs went contrary to the “hawks” in the military and even his cabinet. His core values ultimately dictated the final decision. He managed to inject the right kind of timely questions into the discussion that were meant to massaged the egos of the hawks in his council, and at the same time , was assuring the “doves” that he would show disciplined restraint. If you ever get a chance to read John Keegan’s book(s), “Face of Battle” and “Mask of Command”, I guarantee you’ll love them. Lots of sermon and teaching material on conflict resolution on the one hand, and leadership “in” conflict on the other.

    Barak or Hillary? Honestly, I’m in prayer mode about that. I’m frankly glad the commercial came out because it is asks a critical question that needs careful thought and prayer. It also tests my own credo, “trust in God and not in chariots or horses.”

    If I was to trust a horse in this race, it would probably be John McCain. I think I know what I’ll get with him. But who really knows?

    I’ve read Obama’s book “the Audacity of Hope” and I like his principles of social discourse and national vision. He’s part MLK and part, Joel Osteen. The problem for me is that I think he’s unrealistic in practical terms. But who knows. Maybe he’s leading a needed paradigm shift in politics. Hillary’s book “Living History” was a tired read and was less than honest. In Obama’s book you could “feel” the scope of his personal introspection. Hillary, on the other hand, seemed stale and unmoving, and seemed to have dodged the complexities of the “Bill and Monica thing.” It wasn’t “moving” by any stretch of the imagination. It read like her monotone voice. I think I fell asleep at least three times while reading it.
    Now, you want my bottom line. Well here goes. I like Barak Obama, the motivator, visionary, consensus builder, and all that stuff. Presidents have to provide vision to the nation. But, on a number of issues I clearly disagree. The one thing I would hope would come out of an Obama presidency is real dialogue and transparency. He talks a lot about that in his book. God knows, we need it. However, on the negative side, prophets,visionaries, trailblazers, and socialist are scary folks. On the Hillary side of the ledger I’m pretty clear about how I feel. Let me put it this way…For those who missed the paranoid and acrimonious days of Nixon’s presidency, just elect Hillary and you’ll get a replay. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, Hillary Clinton is Richard Nixon in a pantsuit. Peace, Steve

  3. Hey Steve, thanks for the reply. And I loved the “Hillary is Nixon in a pantsuit” thing! Are you quoting, and if not, can I quote you?

    As to our discussion on leadership and decision making, our differences are just semantics. You’re right, there. I will say, WISE leaders can fall into the two categories of decision makers. I give you Solomon on one extreme, who didn’t ask his court what he should do with the two prostitutes and the one baby, and I give you Ronald Reagan, who surrounded himself with well-qualified experts in various fields, and drew from their collective wisdom.

    As to Hillary and Barack – neither would qualify as a Solomon or a Reagan. I don’t think either will surround themselves with anyone outside of liberal circles. (The anti-conflict-at-any-price crowd will be well represented in such a think tank, as will the anti-military, as will the tax-and-spend crowd.) I believe, like Bill Clinton, Hillary or Barack will receive information from other advisors, too, but those advisors will be more interested in image than principles, and more concerned about how a decision will play to “the base” and play out to the media.

    I am concerned about a John McCain presidency, in that much like GWB, he will not communicate well enough to keep his political enemies at bay. The only person in the field that has communication skills that rival those of Reagan is Barack … but he couldn’t be more unlike Reagan in his political philosophy … so.

    Questions: What do you think “the” issue will be in this election, come November, that will decide the race? And … At what level will the electorate allow themselves to be taxed? (I’ve studied the UK brand of socialism, and the entrenched sense of entitlement. I can see this same way of thinking/living coming eventually to the US – it’s only a matter of time. I don’t think that when that happens, the “rapture” will take place, or that we’ll have to line up for numerical tattoos.)

    I will check out Keegan’s books, only because you said I’d love them. If, however, I find that I do not love them, I expect a check in the mail to cover costs.

    As to your last paragraph (“Now you want my bottom line …”) – if there is anything apocalyptic about your insights it is this: the world is looking for a leader. The whole world wants a leader that will conjure up peace and prosperity. That leader will have to be charismatic, articulate, and ruthless because there will be resistance to the kinds of changes required to bring world peace and prosperity. He/She will have to have a vision that is “promising” (everyone gets something), solves the identity theft and commercial/trade problems that haunt the world’s economy, (NAFTA will look better and better – world-wide in scope), and militarily strong because Islamists, Christians, and neo-pagans alike will have to toe the SAME line.

    As to Barack bringing dialogue and transparency to Washington (Washington???), you’re dreaming, man. Transparency scares the crap out of DC insiders, pols, fundraisers, and lobbyists. And dialogue can only occur if the two (or three or four) sides of a position listen first, and then talk. No one’s listening in DC.

    Yours! Q

  4. Nixon in a pantsuit is all mine. I’ve gotten a number of amens on that one, as well as a few rolled eyes by some Xers. You may use it freely.

  5. I’ll give this a try as I’m out of my league here. I’m not as well read in the area of politics as you even though I give it a try now and then. Maybe just to humor my darker senses. However, I’ve been a leader of sorts for most my adult life. My leadership has been on an extremely small scale compared to this discussion, but through all my own lack of confidence on various matters, it didn’t matter. What mattered to those I led was to lead. By weighing the variations and acting in a quick and decisive manner.

    I voted for Obama, as did Debi, yesterday. I may be one of the 6 or 7 white guys over 50 to have done so. I felt awful as the night went on that the negative ads, “Shame on you…” and “It’s 3 a.m. …” got any momentum. Then I thought that maybe those ads did nothing b/c Bilary was leading a week prior by about those same points that she ended up winning. I’m not sure if they had any effect on the outcome.

    What I think may have had are the amount of older women that are snookered into Bilary (not mine and I don’t care if you use it) insisting she’s been harmed by the media. Maybe she has and maybe she hasn’t. It’s the women’s instinct in America’s present to have the back of a “fellow” sister that’s being unfairly judged.

    As a lowly voter looking in at this, it seems to me that Hilary would indeed polarize not only this country further, but more dangerously, polarize the rest of the world to us.

    I’m not a Rush (as in the GOP, far right talk show host… not the band) fan, but I do listen sometimes, probably b/c my XM contract just ran out, and I have finally agreed with something he said today.

    Emphasis on paraphrasing, “Hilary will burn the tent down in June rather than let anyone else take the election. She’d rather destroy the democratic party then to concede defeat.”

    Somehow I see Obama as one that understands humility in defeat. And of all the things I’ve learned from being a leader in my life, that point is one that was earned and learned the hard way. Learn from the defeat and be humble.

    One other point I’d like to make before you delete my unprofessional opinion and is again a Rushism… 50% of America already hates Hilary. If we can nominate her, Republicans will remain in the White House.

  6. Chip, are you kidding? Delete? No way, man. In my estimation, you’re absolutely right on all points. By the way, darker senses are welcomed here.

    Your points showing the contrast between Hillary and Barak are in my view, right on the mark. In Obama’s book he tell how he reacted when he lost an election early in his career. He was extremely gracious and humble. The guy does have some class and he’s pretty cool under pressure. He’s freaky weird in that he behaves like we all would want our kids and everyone else to act. Ironically, for some, that seems to be a reason for suspicion. How cynical have we as a nation gotten.

    You can bet that Hillary will probably crank up the smear campaign with vigor. Negative reactionary campaigning is in her blood. She is after all, a woman scorned and it will probably manifest itself if things go south on her. You know, someone’s gonna pay if she loses. Is someone gonna use the “B” word in this conversation?

    Last point. I heard once again the talk about an Clinton/Obama ticket. Anyway you cut it, if Hillary’s name is anywhere on the ballot in November, there’s no way I’ll vote for her. I wrote Obama’s campaign and senate office today to say that if he hooked up with Hillary, (aka… the bitch!) in the general election, I’d burn his book on the downtown New London city plaza, and I’ll invite the press, who I still can muster without much effort. Can’t wait for the response, if it comes at all. Just a shot across the bow. He must be losing sleep over that one! No?

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