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Ken Adelman
Political advisor

Ken Adelman

A Reagan-era Ambassador and Arms Control Director, Ken Adelman is co-founder and vice-president of Movers and Shakespeares, which offers executive training and leadership development.

A Rose Garden embrace

Q: The grassroots 'tea party' movement suffered a set back this week when its candidates in Indiana lost in the Republican primaries. How can political leaders, or leaders in other fields, harness the power of insurgencies? What are the ground rules?

Incorporate as much of the passion as you can, and as much of the policy as you can stand. Hence, absorb and don't reject outright.

Try this mind game: Imagine President Obama heartily embracing the movement, in the Rose Garden,announcing that (at least partly) because of the tea parties, he now feels (even more) danger in mounting government deficits. And that's why he's forming "The Patriots' Commission" -- currently stodgily entitled "The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform" - because they're - or, really, we're -- basically right. This mounting national debt is a potential poison in our kids' future tea cups.

And, inspired by their/our movement, he'll immediately begin to implement the cry for smaller government -- by ordering huge cuts in agricultural subsidies. Those subsidies are the symbol of everything wrong with big government, with public funds going to (mostly) wealthy farmers for being non-productive, i.e. not growing crops.

After this embracing announcement with its two hammer-blows, it'd be fun to see the drooping faces of rural, anti-Obama insurgents whose tea is now accompanied by a soufflé that won't rise much.

By Ken Adelman

 |  May 6, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
Category:  Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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