Comments: Wonks, Shamans, Warriors, Dealmakers & The Protean Leader

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Robert Benjamin , Portland OR   02/22/08
I'm indebted to Martha Uelman for catching my dreadful error in American history by confusing "Stonewall" Jackson with the Seventh President of the United States, Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson who was a polarizing figure known for his toughness. robert benjamin

Martha  Uelmen, San Jose CA   02/22/08
Stonewall Jackson
Robert, check your history. Stonewall Jackson was a confederate soldier who died in battle. He was never president of the US. Perhaps you are thinking of Andrew Jackson.

Albie Davis, Thomaston ME     02/21/08
Obama--tough, tender & tactical!
Hi Robert, Enjoyed your article about leadership. As to the question,"For Obama, is he smart and tough enough to draw a line in the sand, and know how to cut a deal? Can he formulate and articulate a plan of action that will give hope some muscle?" I feel he has demonstrated his leadership qualities well during his campaign. This morning's news (see below) about the Teamster's endorsement provides another clue. Remember, Obama is the guy who spent many years community organizing in Chicago neighborhoods, in the spirit of Saul Alinsky, one of the toughest organizers in history. In Rules for Radicals, 1946, page 38, Alinsky refers to the two characters that make up the Chinese word for crisis--danger and opportunity. He took risks eagerly, fearlessly. He also showed his soft side by saying that out of the danger of crisis comes "the opportunity of a life for mankind of peace, happiness, security, dignity and purpose." Obama has taken his own community organizing experience to a new level. As to Obama's ability to "draw a line in the sand," a metaphor which somehow has come to indicate "thus far, no further," will he give that rigid expression new meaning? By its very nature such a line is guaranteed to shift with the winds of reality. The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blowin' in the wind. Warm regards from Maine, Albie Feb 21, 2008 news: In a telephone press conference Wednesday, Teamsters President James Hoffa said the deciding factors that led his board to choose Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton were Obama’s electability and the controversial U.S.-Mexico-Canada "free trade" treaty. The treaty -- a sore point with the union -- cost thousands of U.S. jobs and was jammed through the then-Democratic lame-duck Congress by then-President Bill Clinton, Sen. Clinton’s husband. Obama has promised that if elected, he would call the president of Mexico and the Canadian prime minister and tell them he wants to renegotiate the pact "because we've lost 3 million jobs" since its enactment, Hoffa explained. Labor, predicting the job losses, fought hard against NAFTA, and against Bill Clinton's push for it. Obama’s stances on NAFTA, health care and other issues "resonate with our members," Hoffa said. As for the treaty, Hoffa said Obama "is the first candidate since Ralph Nader" in 2000 “to say it’s not fair” to U.S. workers.