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Kathryn Kolbert

Kathryn Kolbert

Kathryn Kolbert, a public-interest attorney and journalist, is the Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, an interdisciplinary center devoted to the theory and practice of women's leadership.

Betrayal is a potent weapon

Question: In a high-stakes game of political chicken, President Obama appears to have bowed to Republican threats to block the extension of tax cuts to the middle class--and all other legislation--unless a similar tax cut for high-income households was also included. Is this realistic bipartisan compromise after a sobering election, or is it a sign of weak leadership?

Debating whether this lop-sided compromise (or home run for wealthy Americans) is a result of the midterm elections or of a president who lost the will to fight for the unemployed who cannot afford their own lobbyists is without merit. The damage has been done--protestations from liberal Dems notwithstanding.

The hardest part of all of this is that the people who supported Obama because he promised to fight for the little guy are feeling betrayed. And betrayal is a potent weapon in party politics that Republicans will cash in on (of course, only after they are done spending all that new-found cash they've given their donors and themselves).

Once again I fear that our politicians have failed to find a way to restore jobs for the millions of Americans out of work. And that's the outcome on which our leaders should remain focused.

By Kathryn Kolbert

 |  December 8, 2010; 11:03 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Congressional leadership , Crisis leadership , Economic crisis , Government leadership , Making mistakes , Managing Crises , Political leadership , Presidential leadership , Self-Sacrifice Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Obama's 'Sophie's choice' | Next: Losing sight of Lincoln: A mid-course resurrection to save Obama's presidency


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I extend the most sincere best wishes to Tim Geithner for a full recovery from his minor surgery.

However, his absence during the last few days is a blessing in disguise for the Democrats.

Bill Clinton gets an A in explaining why agreeing to a tax cut to the top echelon is helpful in fueling continual investment into America, and why it is essential if we want to make sure that recovery continues and speed up. Otherwise, the largest investment firms will go overseas to invest in countries with lower tax rates. Even with the cut, the tax rate is still very high compared with the rate in most other countries in the world. It’s essential to compete for such investment, from Americans and from foreign countries in order to develop new small and big businesses. The administration must encourage confidence in both small and BIG businesses by showing them all that the Government is not against them, but for them.

Workers and bosses, small and big businesses must work harmoniously together for America to emerge as quickly as possible from the high unemployment rate.

Obama passed a universal healthcare bill to provide healthcare for the little guys, but failed to figure out a politically viable as well as fiscally sound way to pay for it.
Since the problematic parts of the Healthcare Bill is not going to become law for a few years yet, let’s be united, everybody, get the economy going first. Getting the economy up and running is the single most important step towards lowering unemployment, and fixing the problematic parts of the healthcare bill.

Posted by: Joallen8 | December 12, 2010 6:26 PM
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As a Federal employee, it is difficult to accept that he is attempting to take what will amount to an additional $40/pay period from me while allowing continued tax cuts for people making millions/year. I am willing to do my share, but come on...

Posted by: creamy | December 12, 2010 7:41 AM
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And now those who supported him and worked hard to get him elected are criticized by him!

We are lectured - I sat through enough lectures in college and don't need one from the president! We are adults, not children to be scolded. Mmaybe we don't all have the higher education that the president has had, but we have common sense which is too often lacking in the decisions of government.

Posted by: Utahreb | December 12, 2010 7:40 AM
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Obama has no convictions of any kind. He is no leader.

Posted by: mmm1110 | December 11, 2010 11:23 PM
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Obama is a disaster. I did not vote for him in 2008. I knew he was an empty suit. I will not be voting for him in 2012. Real leaders are bold. Obama is a whimp.

Posted by: mmm1110 | December 11, 2010 10:25 PM
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