Be the Leader We Need
The Blagojevich scandal is an opportunity for President-elect Obama to model the kind of leadership we need in this country. Rather than defensively answering questions about whether members of his team had any contact with Governor Rod Blagojevich, he should tell the American people he recognizes the governor's behavior is a symptom of the failure of leadership in this country and the loss of trust that is essential to furthering the common good.
According to a poll released in October by Harvard's Kennedy School, 80 percent of Americans believe the U.S. faces a leadership crisis. Americans don't trust their leaders, and it's easy to understand why: incompetence in response to crises like Katrina, Iraq, Wall Street and the auto companies; corruption in companies like Enron, WorldCom and among elected officials. Right now, Obama has a large amount of trust capital. To be an effective president, he needs, above all, to preserve it. I suggest he do two things.
1) Act to maintain trust by being fully open and transparent about relationships and discussions with the governor by members of his team. Demonstrate the philosophy of leadership he expressed during the presidential campaign;
2) Describe the crisis of leadership in America, the causes of political corruption, what he has done in the Illinois and US senates to address these causes and what he plans to do in the future.
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