Herman Cain's Commentary Archive 2009-2012

February 21, 2010

Looking for leadership

February 21, 2010
By Herman Cain

When we look past the political rhetoric, this nation’s severe deficiency of leadership is blatantly obvious. The signs of this deficiency start in the White House and cascade all through Congress, and down through all levels of state and local governments.

The appointment of dozens of czars by President Obama has added to the bureaucratic mess in trying to get the right things done in Washington. And appointing a Deficit Reduction Commission a year after being in office is not a sign of good leadership, especially when the president said in December 2008 that “deficits don’t matter”.

When both chambers of Congress spent a year addressing a manufactured health care crisis to end up deadlocked with two terrible proposals is a sure sign of leadership deficiency. Many members are still in denial that they are working on the wrong problem despite a majority of the voters trying to tell them otherwise.

State governments are so addicted to federal assistance and crippled by unfunded mandates that they suffer from economic pneumonia when the federal government catches an economic cold. Now that Uncle Sam has economic pneumonia, some states may be forced into bankruptcy.

But we are not going to be able to repair the deficiency of leadership in this country with an instant leadership pill. Nor are we going to be able to fix this mess with most of the members already in Congress or the White House. This is because, by the time they get elected, they do not have time to learn how to lead, or worse, they believe the title of “great leader” comes with the office. Right now, even good leaders are missing in action.

Our next best option is to look for signs of good leadership in those that aspire to gain our votes in the upcoming November 2010 elections.

After three books on leadership, 40 years of leading businesses and organizations, and hundreds of keynote speeches on leadership, here are some signs I can offer of good leadership to look for in prospective candidates:
  • They talk about solutions to problems, rather than just the problems.
  • They talk about major strategic issues (national security, the economy, tsunami spending, energy independence and constitutional liberties) instead of petty pandering and partisan party politics.
  • They state clearly what they stand for, and what they will not fall for.
Solving any problem starts with working on the right problem (part 1 of 3). This did not happen with the Cap & Trade & Tax & Kill bill, the Health Care Deform legislation or the $787 billion “stimulus” bill, to name just a few examples.

The Cap & Trade bill was an attempt to achieve a political agenda of more government control over businesses, using what has now been exposed as dishonest scientific analysis. Even worse, the United States was going to be the biggest victim of this international scam, and this administration and Congress were vigorously promoting the scam to pander to the environmentalists.

The Health Care Deform bills started with a faulty premise – namely, that we have a health care crisis. No, we have a health care cost crisis. And those two sick Democratic proposals in Congress do not come close to attacking the cost problem, even though the president and the Democrats continue to claim otherwise. Oh yeah, that might be a good pre-condition for leaders. Tell the truth.

The president, the vice president, members of the administration and Democrats in Congress continue to declare that the $787 billion stimulus bill is working. The growing unemployment numbers do not suggest that it is working, and according to the Glenn Beck Show only 6 percent of the American people believe it is working. That’s less than the 7 percent who believe Elvis is still alive.

Looking for leaders must now be our top priority. Otherwise, national problems will continue to have no real solutions, a problem we must solve.