On Leadership
Video | PostLeadership | FedCoach | | Books | About |
Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

Kurt Schmoke
Political/Education leader

Kurt Schmoke

A former mayor of Baltimore City, Kurt Schmoke is Dean of Howard University School of Law.

We Need More Details

The leadership challenge that President Obama faces at this stage of the health care policy debate is to simplify complexity in a persuasive manner. Most Americans can probably repeat the broad goals that the President is attempting to achieve because these goals have been stated like a mantra in his town hall meetings, press conferences, and formal speeches. Unfortunately, the unstated message conveyed each time he speaks is that, on health care reform, the devil is in the details. Clarity and simplicity have eluded him in addressing the details.

Meaningful and substantive reform of the health care system will require sacrifice in some form from all of our citizens. However, the initial funding proposal endorsed by the president could be characterized as one seeking universal coverage without universal sacrifice. On this difficult issue, the president must find a way to unite citizens, not divide them. Attempting to pay for reform by relying heavily on the few, not the many, is a prescription for discord.

The president is at his best when he levels with the country and is straightforward about the tough choices that must be made. As he has said in another context, he needs to "recalibrate" his message to explain in detail the shared sacrifice needed to achieve the benefits he outlines for health care reform.

By Kurt Schmoke

 |  July 28, 2009; 9:51 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: One Step at a Time | Next: The Wrong Pace

Comments

Please report offensive comments below.



"Clarity and simplicity have eluded him in addressing the details." Very nicely said, sir, and spot on.

Posted by: CeruleanBill | August 2, 2009 11:54 AM
Report Offensive Comment

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company