As the ‘fiscal cliff’ looms and it looks almost certain now that no deal will be reached in time to prevent my taxes from going up, I’m reminded how vacuous our leadership is in DC. The problems facing this country are grave. For starters, it doesn’t look like we will be able to pay off our now 16 plus trillion dollar deficit in my lifetime (and I’m still a relatively young guy). Our country needs bold dramatic action coupled with a coherent, structured plan to right our fiscal ship. In today’s vapid media echo chamber, this can only happen if a true leader emerges who will challenge and rally the nation to this great calling.
President Obama is not this leader. While politically shrewd, he is petty and has demonstrated that he doesn’t have the stomach to lead. (Recall his infamous approach to the military operation in Libya: Lead from Behind). He has internalized the great liberal maxim that there is far more to gain in the short term by pandering and handing out, than there is in challenging people and communities to better themselves for the betterment of others.
As I read through Winston Churchill’s epic six volume set, The Second World War, I’m struck by the clarity of the man’s vision for things both great and small, and his ability to passionately articulate this vision with the kind of conviction that rallies others to the cause. In his case, he steered his country through a great war, but he did so by never selling short his constituents. He made clear to them the amount of sacrifice and risk required to prevail, and people accepted his assessment because they also believed that the end game was winnable and worth it.
Where’s our Churchill? Certainly not in the White House. Clearly not in Congress. We have too many people that are good at politics, good at being politicians. But we don’t have leaders. And I sense that people in this country, whether they know it or not, are craving bold leadership. They’re not looking for it to come necessarily from the right or the left. People just want it–they want leadership that’s serious about solving problems, not good at playing politics.