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John Baldoni
Leadership author

John Baldoni

John Baldoni is a leadership consultant, coach, and regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review online. His most recent book is Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up.

Beyond partisan bickering

The State of the Union is intended to be the Chief Executive's briefing to Congress about what is happening in the nation and what the president is doing to address issues, challenges, and opportunities. Most presidents use this address as a laundry list of accomplishments of the past year and statement of intentions for the coming year and beyond.

President Barack Obama ran on a platform that things would be different in Washington if he became president. Instead, it has been the same old partisanship with politicians on either side playing rejectionist politics. So if I were the president, here's what I would want to say:

The crises facing our nation are grave. While I believe we can solve the issues facing us, we can only do so if we work together. I promised the nation that I would instill a new spirit of bipartisanship upon taking office.

Sadly after one year, that promise has yet to be fulfilled. Partly the fault lies with me. I did not urge my party to engage the other party, and I did not reach out enough to the other party to ensure that they were heard. We have ceded good governance to bipartisan bickering.

That will end. Starting now!

Tonight I am calling for the leaders of the Senate and House, Democrats and Republicans, to come to the White House.

We are going to have a meeting of the minds. Partisan sniping has become blood sport. And while it may be fine for talk radio and political fundraising, it is not good for governance.

Prior to our meeting I will ask each leader to come with a wish list of three things he or she would like to accomplish in the coming year. We will discuss these priorities and work to come to agreement on these priorities.

We will negotiate in a spirit of sacrifice. That is, each of us, including me, must be willing to give up something we hold dear so that the nation will benefit from initiatives that work to regenerate rather than alienate.

These meetings will continue until we reach agreement on rejuvenating our economy, reforming health care, and rejuvenating our education system. I will ask that leaders work nights and weekends until agreement is reached. In short, leader's lives and mine are on hold till we agree.

The stakes are high. The time for action is now. Let's get to work.

By John Baldoni

 |  January 25, 2010; 3:56 PM ET
Category:  Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: 'Where I went wrong' | Next: The politics of small things

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Bottom line - Obama has to admit that he has failed to follow through on those promises that mean the most to the public.

Truth and Transparency in government. Promised but not delivered.
Jobs - Phony counts of job created by the Stimulus 'package' have only lowered the public respect for the President and Congress. That and pork packing the "stimulus" legislation.

Tough talk to business but bungled bailouts. Businesses either took the bailouts and thumbed their noses about bonuses or the didn't take the bailouts at all. (Except for those forced to take the money.)

Taxing our health care plans and cutting medicare to pay for a bad health care reform bill. That is a real show stopper. The worst of both parties behavior has been seen in the Health Care Reform legislative process and frankly it's disgusting that you think the public is so gulible.

All in all the blame lands primarily on Obama and his democratic cronies for doing business as usual and Secondly on the GOP for refusing to put up reasonable alternatives to major legislation such as Health Care Reform.

Obama and company has failed but the GOP has lost our respect as well.

We The People are sick of the behavior on both side of the aisle and we will dump those of fail to realise how serious we are about changing government.

Posted by: AmzgGrce | January 26, 2010 10:58 PM
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