Monday, November 22, 2010


Abandoning the "transformational" model of his presidential campaign, Obama has tried to govern as a "transactional" leader. These terms were coined by political scientist James MacGregor Burns 30 years ago. "Transformational" leadership engages followers in the risky and often exhilarating work of changing the world, work that often changes the activists themselves. Its sources are shared values that become wellsprings of the courage, creativity and hope needed to open new pathways to success. "Transactional" leadership, on the other hand, is about horse-trading, operating within the routine, and it is practiced to maintain, rather than change, the status quo.

The nation was ready for transformation, but the president gave us transaction. And, as is the case with leadership failures, much of the public's anger, disappointment and frustration has been turned on a leader who failed to lead.

Obama and his team made three crucial choices that undermined the president's transformational mission.

He abandoned the bully pulpit of moral argument and public education.

He chose to lead with a politics of compromise rather than advocacy.

He chose to demobilize the movement that elected him president.

By shifting focus from a public ready to drive change — as in "yes we can" — he shifted the focus to himself and attempted to negotiate change from the inside, as in "yes I can."

  LA Times

Via The Vigil.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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