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Warren Bennis

Warren Bennis

Warren Bennis is University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Business at the University of Southern California. His newest book is 'Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership.'

Commit Acts of Candor

While Governor Blagojvich's cartoonish and probably illegal behavior is the protagonist of this juicy scandal, he is no longer the central character of this saga. President designate Obama is. The scandal has already, to paraphrase the question, washed up at his front door.

There is only one way to deal with allegations and/or illegal behavior and that is total transparency. Obama and members of his inner circle who have had any dealing with Blagojevich's "search" for the open Senate seat must come totally clean; that means they all have to commit acts of candor.

Isn't that one of the reasons why Eric Shinseki was appointed to his new position as head of veteran affairs? General Shinseki had the temerity to speak truth to power at a Senate committee hearing and directly to his boss, Donald Rumsfeld.

There are, of course, certain limits to public candor and, according to reports, the prosecuting attorney, Patrick Fitzgerald, has gagged some in Obama's staff from speaking publicly about the case. But I'm certain there are things that can be and should be said by members of Obama's team that would not be proscribed by Fitzgerald. Keep in mind that most people go to jail not for the allegations but for the cover up of these charges. This is a real test of Barack Obama's transparency.

There is a second thing Obama should reiterate: that changing the politics of Washington, D.C. is one of the main reasons he ran for president. If that's true, he should start with Illinois.

By Warren Bennis

 |  December 15, 2008; 1:55 PM ET
Category:  Politics Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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This is so ridiculous. There is not a hint that Obama was involved with Blagojevich corrupt behavior. Yet, Obama is now asked to prove a negative by howling Republicans and the insufferable pundit class.

Obama and Blagojevich are both from Chicago. In the hare-brained logic of people like Bennis, it must follow that Obama is involved with Blagojevich's attempts to sell Obama's Senate seat. Well, Mr. Bennis, there is no evidence that you routinely rape small children, but just in case, could you please prove that you don't?

Posted by: Gatsby1 | December 16, 2008 5:05 AM
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