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Slade Gorton
Political leader

Slade Gorton

A former U.S. Senator and Washington State Attorney General, Slade Gorton served on the 9/11 Commission.

Popularity is easy when troubles run deep

Q: New Jersey's new Republican governor, Chris Christie, has forced cutbacks in pay for teachers and superintendents, capped local property taxes, cut pension benefits for state workers, canceled popular public works projects and closed a $11 billion state budget deficit. Yet in spite of these highly controversial initiatives and a blunt speaking style, his popularity in a heavily Democratic state is rising. What is the lesson here for other political leaders?

In times of deep troubles about which there is a high degree of public consciousness, leaders like Chris Christie can make tough decisions and gain at least temporary popularity. Winston Churchill is the perfect example. Such decisions are much more difficult when the dangers are either obscure or distant. Under those circumstances only the bravest of leaders, unafraid of losing their offices, will speak out.

And even the Christie approval is likely to be temporary and to disappear with the crisis. Churchill is also the best example here, thrown out of office immediately after he won World War II.

By Slade Gorton

 |  October 12, 2010; 9:49 AM ET
Category:  Managing Crises , Political leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Go against the grain | Next: People can handle the truth

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As Christie and the rest of the Republicans will, even if they win in November, when the middle class and the poor find out they've been had once again. No amount of bluster will bring back the jobs that the corporations exported to China and elsewhere. Cuts in government services will start to hit home sooner rather than later. Conservatives are now pitting government workers against those in the private sector, but their arguments are really just to conceal the fact that in the private sector, workers are getting the shaft over and over again from their employers: lower wages, fewer benefits, canceled pension plans, higher premiums for health insurance, the list goes on and on. What happened to the days when technological advances and increased productivity brought higher wages, more benefits, and greater wealth for all? For the middle class and the poor, it has all gone by the wayside, as the corporations have moved their jobs and the productive capabilities of American to China. Only the rich can still look ahead to a better life. The rest of America is facing an economic disaster.

Posted by: Chagasman | October 12, 2010 5:04 PM
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