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Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

Obama's three first steps

Question: Like U.S. presidents, military and non-profit leaders often face the equivalent of "midterm elections" in which they and their strategies are subject to an initial market test or performance evaluation. What's the first thing President Obama, or any leader, should do or say when confronted with unambiguously negative results from a mid-course evaluation?

More important than speed is thoughtfulness. President Obama should take time to study the results of the election, plus any associated polling and background interviews and information. Thereafter he should do three things:

1) Indicate the major messages that he has discerned from the returns;
2) indicate what he will do differently as a result of hearing these messages (and what he won't change and why);
3) put together a team of advisers with special expertise in addressing those concerns (e.g. if the absence of business knowledge in the inner circle is a concern to the electorate, he should appoint a few key individuals from the business sector).

Should he follow a course like this, both he and the country should be better off.

By Howard Gardner

 |  November 1, 2010; 3:09 PM ET
Category:  Government leadership , Presidential leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Acknowledge the reality | Next: It's not what he says, it's whether he means it


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The first thing Obama should have said is to express a great sorrow that the American people have been duped by the Republicans, Fox propaganda, and massive corporate advertising distortions! Then assure the people that he would oppose the Republican agenda to repeal the gains for the people during his first two years in office, allow the Bush Tax cuts to expire, and aggressively challange the Republicans to reduce the massive debt inherited from the Bush administration by cutting the military budget by 25% each of the next 2 years as we unwind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, the President should aggressively promote financial reforms to really regulate wall street, put a cap on incomes of all wall street workers of 1 Million dollars each year, reinstall glass-seagal to prevent banks with FDIC from gambling with deposits, restrict FDIC banks to 10% cap on interest rates and regulate all fees! Finally, challenge the Republicans to get their corporate sponsors to either crankup employment or support a massive public works effort by the Federal government to rebuild crumbling infrastructure and build new infrastructure for the needs of the 21st century.

Posted by: CHAOTICIAN101 | November 3, 2010 3:46 PM
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