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Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

A no-brainer

No pun intended, but the answer to this question is a no brainer.

While there was criticism of Senator Ben Nelson, at least the positions he espoused were consistent with those that he has taken in the past and also with those of his constituents. As bloggers were quick to point out, Senator Joseph Lieberman has favored on the record many of the policies (e.g. lowering the age of medicare coverage), which he has come to oppose during the last fortnight. Nor do the positions that he now espouses resonate with the Connecticut electorate, much of which is furious at him. Also, even before he ran as an independent, Lieberman was coming to be seen as a self-promoting loose cannon (who considered being McCain's running mate), rather than as a reasonable, principled person. And over the past year, things have gone from bad to worse.

Leaders need to consistently present their social and political value system, with positions that are changed only for good and sufficient reason. Moreover, they should embody their governing narrative in the ways in which they live and behave. The only consistency in Lieberman's positions on many issues are that they draw attention to his persona and place "deciding vote power" in his hands.

By Howard Gardner

 |  December 21, 2009; 1:47 PM ET
Category:  Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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There's not much mystery to Lieberman's behavior, and it has nothing to do with deeply held principles. He wants to keep his seat until he croaks at 100. He knows that he will have a challenge from the left- and this time from a strong democrat- at re-election time. He is working to make sure that he doesn't also have a strong contender from the right that would insure his defeat.

Posted by: rwcole | December 22, 2009 11:53 AM
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In a team environment, those kinds of stunts do not play well. Poor timing and reasoning (what reasoning?). One can't help but suspect that the issue was not about health care but leverage for a different issue.

Posted by: Beacon2 | December 22, 2009 11:43 AM
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Howard Gardner's overblown reputation has long since peaked, and his cognitive theories have gone the way of other Humanistic Psychology detritus.

Look at this clause carefully: "Leaders need to consistently present their social and political value system . . ." Apart from the two grammatical errors, does Professor Gardiner believe that the hackneyed phrase "social and political value system[s]" has any epistemological weight?

If this comment seems like an assault on Professor Gardiner's competence and integrity, that's fair because such is the nature of his assault on
Senator Lieberman.

Posted by: miglefitz | December 21, 2009 8:47 PM
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I think Sen Lieberman has a reason to change his position and has been consistent on his opposition to the current heath reform.

After all he is the second highest recipient of healthcare insurance lobbying money and would have been dishonest if he does not speak up for the hand that feeds him. He clearly believes that our government is the best that money can buy. In that sense the voters in Connecticut are irrelevant as they only voted for him - and only some of them at that - and are not paying him.

Despite all the things that W did wrong, Lieberman is the one that keeps me thinking Al Gore deserved to lose to W for making Lieberman his running mate. At least W show good judgment by picking someone who could, and did, do the job for him and what did we get from Gore? Lieberman!

Posted by: steviana | December 21, 2009 7:19 PM
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Lieberman is no leader and neither is half the folks in the Congress, e.g., McCain, Wilson, Nelson, Ensign, Baucus, Bohemer, Graham, Grassley, Inhofe, Landrieu, Cantor, et al.

They are all a bunch of self-serving jackals, who are consistently doing nothing but putting the countries social structure and security at risk, because of their own self-interests.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 21, 2009 6:28 PM
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