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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.'

Carter's Example

"Formers" can be very useful if they are trusted by both parties and are seen as men and women of good will, interested in the common good. Past presidents and vice presidents have often played this role to great effect. Jimmy Carter, to take one recent example, has served more effectively as a post-president than a sitting one. George Schultz has been useful to both parties because of his experience and wisdom. Cheney's a different animal. His comments serve no particular purpose other than to hurt his own party by settling scores and justifying actions that are now widely seen as wrong and self-serving.

Yes, there are differences between the political and the private sectors. It would be totally infra-dig for a former CEO to publicly criticize or even comment on his successor's failures or triumphs. Jack Welch once did criticize his successor, Jeff Immelt, and later retracted with regrets.

More than President Bush, Obama deserves Cheney's silence. But maybe not. I would imagine some wise Democrats welcome it. If you have an enemy like Cheney, friends could be less important.

By Warren Bennis

 |  May 12, 2009; 10:15 AM ET
Category:  Followership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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