Herman Cain's Commentary Archive 2009-2012

February 28, 2010

Obama and friends: How not to lead

February 28, 2010
By Herman Cain

The three critical things a leader must do are work on the right problems, listen and ask the right questions and remove barriers to self-motivation. The events over the last few weeks by President Obama and the Democrat leaders in Congress have demonstrated just the opposite.

Despite consistent polls which have shown that the majority of the American public does not agree with the massive health care proposal by President Obama and the Democrats to take over the entire health care system in this country, they are trying to do it their way anyway. That’s working on the wrong problem.

Congressman Paul Ryan did a compelling job of explaining the shell game the administration was using to make people believe that their health care proposal would not add to the deficit, and that people’s health insurance costs would go down. But at the so-called health care summit the president and the Democrats totally ignored Congressman Ryan’s analysis. They are not listening. They don’t even ask questions because they are convinced they are right.

Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) tried to make an impassioned speech that they were not considering the nuclear option called reconciliation if the Republicans did not cave to their plan, the president left the door open for such a tactic in his closing 10-minute remarks, which took 20 minutes. That uncertainty does not cause the American people to feel inspired. That’s a barrier to self-motivation.

All three of these instances are classic examples of how not to lead. That’s sad for our country, because what we need most right now is inspiring leadership.

There’s a reason the number of tea parties and rallies are growing in numbers and size, and town hall meetings held by members of Congress are attracting more and more attendees. There’s a reason Reid is trailing at least two Republican challengers for his Nevada Senate seat in the polls with the primary election coming up in June.

It’s the same reason the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) two weeks ago attracted nearly 10,000 attendees – a 20 percent increase over last year. Namely, people have had enough of this attempted government power grab out of Washington, runaway tsunami spending, inaccurate claims about successful programs, dysfunctional social programs and the prospect of even higher taxes and more unnecessary regulations.

People are determined to be more informed, involved and impactful in making their voices heard, and to change this imbalance of power in the November 2010 elections. The voices of the people have caused Republicans to remain united against this tidal wave of socialism, and these same voices have caused moderate Democrats to not walk the political plank with Obama, Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Despite the blatant deficiency of leadership by this administration and leaders in Congress, the American people sense that we have an even bigger problem. Not working on the right problems, not listening and creating barriers stalls the progress of this country. But to not even try to do the right thing will ultimately damage this nation.

Many constituencies have long suggested that the place to start with real health care reform is tort reform, equal deductibility of health insurance premiums and interstate health insurance competition. There is a plethora of historical evidence that says the place to start to truly stimulate the economy is with direct tax cuts to businesses and workers.

The president and the Congress have repeatedly ignored those suggestions. We have a severe deficiency of leadership and a deficiency of intent.

That’s the other reason people are so angry and outraged.