Sunday, March 16, 2008


The news this week has focused on the failure of leadership. A sex scandal felled a governor and the revelations of a candidate's personal pastor, threaten to impugn the integrity of that candidate's perception to be a unifying force for change.

I will not offer my personal opinions on the above issues, the MSM, talk radio and other blogs will cover these stories ad nauseam. However, the events are symptomatic of America losing it's middle ground.

Several posts this week highlight this problem. Eating Their Own posted on Zenpundit notes:

There appears to be an emerging civil war in the Democratic Party flowing along generational, ideological, gender and racial lines that has just spilled onto one of the premier sites of the Left blogosphere, the DailyKOS:

And continues with another post entitled, On Synchronicity and Other Variables cross-posted on Zenpundit and Chicago Boyz. This post speaks to the importance of media in conflict and offers insightful comments in an op-ed by:

Blogfriend Matt Armstrong was recently featured at the USC Center for Public Diplomacy where he had a very thorough and well-considered op-ed on Information Operations and New Media.

The supporting comments reinforce the necessity to:

.....craft some kind of coherent narrative of it’s national objectives, policies and values.

It is well worth taking the time to read, along with Matt Armstrong's linked op-ed to understand what is at stake.

Finally, Tom Barnett's weekly column for Scripps Howard and KnoxNews, entitled, Losing America's middle ground means losing our way directly addresses this issue.

He writes about his own experience in working in the national security community and how he has almost always found that they all have the best interests of the United States at heart. He goes on to note that many people no longer believe that:

I also know many citizens don't believe that. They sense everything is decided by cabals and secret programs and groups you've never even heard of..........Most people see too many movies and don't read enough material that accurately describes the day-to-day workings of things, so their images of policymaking tend to be very dark and nefarious.

Barnett writes that shortly after 9-11 it was cool to be working for the USG. But:

Today, the tide seems to be turning quickly back to those earlier days:........People feel powerless over events, and so they go to blogs and discussion boards and type in statements I couldn't deliver as an actor they're so angry and out of control.

This speaks directly to, Eating Their Own linked above.

Tom points out what is missing is a middle ground because:

....... there is a profound mismatch between our current grand strategy fixated on terror and what most Americans feel needs to be something visionary and more positive -- not just the future to be prevented but the one worth creating.......The next president better address that mismatch or we'll see the moral vigor of this nation continue to decline in dangerous ways, especially during an economic downturn.

This leads back to the title of this post, Leadership? It appears this is lacking in massive droves today. Personal responsibility is only taken when trying to cop-a-plea, after the truth comes out. Many including Tom Barnett hold out hope that Barak Obama's appeal is one of hope, but the latest revelations may torpedo that appeal.

In balance, Barnett, standing in the middle ground also sees an appeal in John MaCain, Handicapping McCain.

Only time will tell, as Tom's final sentence states:

People don't join a cause they mistrust.

I have noted before, that the United States has been blessed to have an almost unbroken chain of leaders from Roosevelt to Reagan, who were able to communicate and maintain the heroic myth that every nation has as it’s cornerstone. This myth is not false ideals, it is the ability to communicate the idea that the future will be better, while assuming responsibility for current conditions. Technocrats and single barreled laser-sighted leaders, have always failed to lead and inspire because they lacked the skills to stand in the middle ground and bring both sides together.

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