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Katherine Tyler Scott
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Katherine Tyler Scott

Katherine Tyler Scott is Managing Partner of Ki ThoughtBridge, a leadership consultancy, and is author, most recently, of Transforming Leadership: The Episcopal Church of the 21st Century. She is a board member of the International Leadership Association.

No zero-sum game

This week's health care summit presents Republican leaders with a difficult choice: (1) agree to support a plan that might be modestly changed to accommodate their ideas; or (2) oppose it on principle as too costly and intrusive and use the issue to try to gain political advantage in November. Which strategy offers them the best prospect of regaining power?


Framing the issue of health care reform as an either/or choice immediately sets up an adversarial situation. This is the problem that has already derailed any significant legislative accomplishment. There are a range of options that need to be generated and considered so that the negotiation on health care considers the major interests of both parties and most of all the American citizens. No one will get everything they want, and if the attitude with which they approach Thursday's Summit is win/lose, the value of meeting is greatly diminished. I don't think most Americans are interested in witnessing another "show" in which party leaders posture for ratings and political gain. They want results, and that means watching to see who will lead--who is genuinely committed to getting something accomplished that addresses the problem of nonexistent or inadequate health care for millions.

So far, there has been too much reinforcement of negative, resistive behavior and too little support for mature rational leadership in Congress. Playing the zero-sum power game is not leadership. Acting as if power is a commodity that can be packaged and redistributed at will is foolish. Authority is not power and its misuse is divisive. It's time for a new paradigm. Real power generates more options and its impact is on a larger good.

If either party at Thursday's Summit appears to be coercive or to be creating obstacles, the public will be able to see who is exercising power for political gain and who is exercising power for the public's gain. If the Summit isn't the beginning of change in these destructive dynamics, the party that "wins" will make us all losers.

By Katherine Tyler Scott

 |  February 23, 2010; 1:13 PM ET
Category:  Congressional leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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What the Democrats ignorantly call "NO" is intelligent Americans defending themselves from absolute rule of those who can't come up with anything better than that ridiculous "health-care bill," which is nothing of the sort...as well as the "initiatives" that give OUR money to mismanaged companies. Obama first ALLOWED bonuses to be taken out of our pockets, then he PROMISED he'd get the money back, but, of course, this was another empty promise..and we're supposed to say "yes" to that?
You know the expression, "Show me the money" (I think of Cuba Gooding jr.), so think, "Show us some government activity that's WORTH supporting!" The health-care bill doesn't address even the basic problems with the medical system (trivial malpractice suits, HMOs, etc., etc), it only puts control of the country into a handful of individuals who would only lead us into a socialistic state. Only people who haven't read the bell...or those who hate America...can support it.

"So far, there has been too much reinforcement of negative, resistive behavior and too little support for mature rational leadership in Congress."
The negative side of this is what the government is trying o do to us. We're taking *positive* moves to keep such atrocities as the health-care "reform" from taking place.
Forget that "party of no" garbage; "YES" government supports the people; it doesn't rob them. It supports ALL American...not just the narrow-minded, greedy fools of a single party. When the Dumbocrats quit trying to force ridiculous legislation which will rob us all the more through Congress, then maybe they'll gain support from the more intelligent Americans.

Posted by: flipper49 | February 24, 2010 8:58 AM
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Maturity is being fiscally responsible.

Obama and the Dems do not get a free ride and bills passed on their good looks...while spending us into oblivion.

Incrementally address the flaws in the present system. If you can't manage the system we have - why should we ever fund another? What is to prevent fraud in the "new bureaucracy"?

NO. The Democrats' discussion about this topic occurred behind closed doors - and all of a sudden they want Republicans to have their initial input (Republicans input occurred last spring, BTW) on television...with a scripted attack from the Dems.

What is the amount projected in the "health care reform" to cover illegal aliens - who continue to get FREE HEALTH CARE?

No answer? That's what I thought.

Maturity - addressing the REAL issues.

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | February 23, 2010 11:18 PM
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The president should keep his promise and have open debate on c-span through the normal channels of the house and senate not through this this grandstanding event he has come up with. This president is always trying to find any way to get his way except through normal channels.

Posted by: sonofliberty09 | February 23, 2010 8:56 PM
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GOP's principle role has been to see this administration fail = see America not recover from the severe 2007-2010 Post World War II Bush Economic Financial Mortgage Reccession. GOP have stopped work in congress with filibusting over 90% of bills to restoring America. They have made our democracy a mockery of the people's choice in November 2008. They have no intentions to cut the cost of health care by reform because they are more heavily funded by the corporate industry rather than being funded by every day American people. GOP does not speak for the majority of American people.

Posted by: Vonnie932 | February 23, 2010 4:14 PM
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I agree with the premise of what you say. We will pass something and with most things when the weak areas surface we will fix. When the strengths are apparent they will be reinforced. The main thing to get together for the sake of the whole Country and for the sake of intangibles that money cannot buy, national confidence, moving on to other as important issues, a sense of having done something, and most of all because we have the ability to overcome our own flaws that could bring us down quicker than bullet to the head. We are about the last developed nation to attain Health Care for its population, so we will gain some kind of parity and move on again to bigger fish.

Then we can use the lessons we learned to accomplish this, another education money cannot buy, to get out of Afghanistan and neutralize terrorist efforts at us and others. Particularly nuclear proliferation that threaten everyone not just the US.
Thank you

Posted by: katzedes | February 23, 2010 3:29 PM
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