S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Leadership -- Cons and Libs

"Leadership," namely the political kind, gets a lot of attention. With the primaries just weeks away, people will want to vote for the best among the candidates in their parties. We often associate certain words with "leading." Examples are winning, popular, noteworthy, and influential.
What do I mean? Because I chose an article from The Democratic Strategist (11/2/07), as the reference for this post, I will need to define terms before proceeding. The first refers to the headline. "Cons and Libs" (conservatives and liberals) references an article from the United Kingdom. The second term is "howler," one with which I was not familiar. So to Wikipedia I turned.
Four possible definitions in Wiki could apply to the following quote. 1) Howlers/Animorphs, 2) Magical objects in Harry Potter, 3) Howlers, fictional creatures from the Playstation 3 game Resistance: Fall of Man, or number 4):
Most likely "in British English, a howler is a mistake so egregious that the person catching it howls with laughter." The Democratic Strategist article, from which I quote extensively, is headlined,
Howlers on List of '100 Most Influential' Cons & Libs
The U.K.'s Daily Telegraph has been running a sort of political strip-tease during the last week, each day unveiling 20 names on two 100-name lists: "The Most Influential U.S. Conservatives" and "The Most Influential U.S. Liberals."
. . . Readers may be interested in some of the choices and descriptions of their influence, but there is a lot to argue with, as well. For example, the top five conservatives in order are Rudy Giuliani; General David Petraeus; Matt Drudge; Newt Gingrich; and Rush Limbaugh. For the liberals, the top five are, in order: Bill Clinton; Al Gore; Mark Penn; Hillary Clinton; and Nancy Pelosi.
There are quite a few howlers on both lists. The best howler on the top 100 conservatives has to be Chuck Norris, ranking 71st, ahead of Charles Krauthammer (77th); Pat Buchanan (80th); Bill O'Reilly (82nd); Peggy Noonan (83rd); Ann Coulter (84th); Clarence Thomas(85th); Michelle Malkin (93rd); and Henry Kissinger (95th). Of the top 100 liberals, a good howler is ranking Barbara Streisand 77th, ahead of Robert Borosage (78th); Howard Dean (84th); Ted Kennedy (85th); and Bob Shrum (93rd). Joe Lieberman makes both lists.
The value in both lists for political strategy is the identifying of influential behind-the-scenes-types and the descriptions of their influence. The rankings, however, are highly subjective, impressionistic and generally useless for anything besides water-cooler chat.
The mainstream media, including this UK example, defines leadership very differently than it should, in my opinion. In the British case it is "most influential."
Definitions wrong -- Similarly mainstream media campaign reports, about who is ahead in the public opinion polls, who is fighting with who (over what), and who is raising the most money, are equally inappropriate as measures of leadership. These may be measures of a campaign's success -- "leading" -- not about leadership.
My link to a recent compilation of previous posts on leadership is called, "The Tapestry of Leadership -- A Digest."

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Making Good Mondays is about Thanksgiving compassion.

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The Future Was Yesterday said...

I believe leadership is much more than the most popular, or the most name recognition. In the years I spent in union politics, which closely mirrors national issues, it readily became apparent to me early on, that leaders are born, not trained. Some just have that "thing" that makes all others stand a step below them. Leaders CAN be trained, but they will always pale in comparison to that natural born leader.

Carol Gee said...

Well said, Future. May I ask you this? What traits or qualities made them natural leaders in your eyes. Most of us know it when we see it, but it is difficult to articulate what that "something" is. I would value your opinion.
Thanks in advance.