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Bob Schoultz
Naval/Academic leader

Bob Schoultz

Captain Bob Schoultz (U.S. Navy, Ret.) directs the Master of Science in Global Leadership at the University of San Diego's School of Business Administration.

Politics IS the 'right thing'

In response to the On Leadership question: In deciding how to treat and try terrorists, Attorney General Eric Holder insisted on insulating his department from political considerations but was forced to retreat because of public outcry. What leadership lessons should he draw upon in trying to balance the sometimes-conflicting demands of legal legitimacy and political legitimacy?

I believe it is naïve and futile to be seek to be apolitical in the Executive Branch of the government. While it may be commendable to try to 'do the right thing' apart from politics, over the long term, I'm not sure there is a 'right thing' apart from politics.

Decisions aren't made in a vacuum - they have consequences that affect real people - and those real people are voters who have elected our officials and have legitimate perspectives and rights as well. Our system has a long tradition of using good judgment in applying and enforcing the law, and political considerations and the potential consequences of decisions are part of that good judgment. While legal legitimacy and political power should, at some level, be kept separate, our political system gives the law its legitimacy. Ultimately, politics and the law are closely intertwined; on another level, they are inseparable.

What leadership lessons should he draw from this recent experience? Balancing constitutional, and practical (read political) considerations against each other within his decision making authority is an important part of what the Attorney General gets paid to do. Those in the Justice department understand that, as do the American people. There is usually room for good judgment to prevail. Explaining his decisions in those terms would be my first recommendation.

By Bob Schoultz

 |  February 16, 2010; 5:48 AM ET
Category:  Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I was hoping that the AG would have a backbone and stick to his guns.

It would have been good to have 75-85 strong on defense, Senators in the Senate and 300 Republican Representatives.

Nothing worse than a wishy washy liberal!

Posted by: JeffreyM23 | February 16, 2010 10:57 PM
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Where is the investigation of the Black Panther case dismissal? Holder has never been held to account for this blatant political maneuver and obvious case of liberal racial preference. I can only hope that the Republicans gain seats in November so that an investigation can be launched. He is a disgrace.

Posted by: Arlingtonguy | February 16, 2010 8:59 PM
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1. What AG or President has experience being AG or President before becoming AG or President? I just wanted to point out a silly and stupid GOP argument.

2. The GOP's base is universally regarded as under-educated, low-wage earners. Sorry but that had to said also.

With that said AG Holder and President Obama are both huge 100% Sell-outs and the sooner both are removed from office, the better. And not because they are black or are supposed to be Democrats, but because both are spineless sell-outs and I believe President Obama is an undercover Republican.

President Obama meets with the GOP, he surrounds himself with a Republican Wall Street crowd and he enacts Republican requests - if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck....he a 'Duck'.

Posted by: question-guy | February 16, 2010 6:40 PM
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BECOME "dangerously politicized"? Was anyone here awake during the degrading fiasco of the previous administration's approach to "Justice"?!?

Posted by: kbenston | February 16, 2010 3:45 PM
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It really doesn't matter what Holder does (or Obama for that matter), because the next president will reverse all of the decisions made by men who are only in their positions because of an UNEDUCATED American electorate. My hope is that the people who voted for the first time in the last election will either educate themselves or stay home in November and in 2012. There's a really good reason for the Electoral College, folks! The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing.

Posted by: georges2 | February 16, 2010 2:27 PM
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Our attorney general has no prior experience but then neither does our president.The one thing they have in common beside their race is they truly hate Guantomino and have dedicated their efforts to close it down. But you can bet the next president is going to open it back up.

Posted by: rvaw120 | February 16, 2010 1:53 PM
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