Sunday, November 18, 2012

Leadership in Government

One of the things that bugs me the most from people in government (typically from legislators) is the phrase along the lines of "The President (or governor or whomever) needs to step up and lead" on some issue. The latest version of this I've seen is from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) speaking about the fiscal cliff.

There’s a problem out there. It’s got to get solved; it’s got to get solved by the president leading. He’s got to put forward what we ought to do and ought to negotiate from there? The point is real leadership — get in the room, here’s what I ought to do. All of the speculation doesn’t do anything to do anything except muddy the waters. He needs a clear vision statement, what he thinks we ought to do, and specifically how. If his answer is only to raise taxes, that doesn’t stop the problem. We ought to stop sequester.

I wonder if Sen. Coburn (or other people saying this) skipped their government class in high school. It seems that he doesn't realize that the Congress is a co-equal branch of government. He or any other legislator can step up and lead on this issue just as well as the President. The problem, though, is that would require Sen. Coburn to put himself out there, to take some responsibility. It's far easier to call for some other guy to put forth a plan and then criticize it for not being exactly what you want. I understand that's the political game, but there's no reason for us not to call it out when it happens.

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