LBJ – Leadership and Better Judgement

I enjoy asking my more liberal American friends to guess my two favourite America Presidents. They never get it right – Lyndon Baines Johnson and Nixon. Domestic and foreign policy giants respectively. Brilliant leaders and politicians who left a positive mark on America and the world.

And both deeply flawed. To be a good leader you have to be flawed. Perfection equals mediocrity in a leader of men.

Last night on the BA Shuttle from LHR to EDI I read a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Daniel Henninger entitled ‘Why Obama Is No LBJ’.

To say the headline grabbed me is an understatement. LBJ and Obama shouldn’t appear in the same paragraph let alone sentence.

Henninger has been inspired to write his anti-comparison piece following some Democrats calling for President Obama to act like LBJ when it comes to healthcare reform.

If only it were that easy.

As politicians go you could not find two more polar opposites. Obama uses language as sophistry, LBJ used its raw power to connect with the people. Obama has a cool, physical detachment. LBJ used his sheer presence to bully, seduce, cajole his opponents into supporting his aims.

LBJ did a job before becoming President, President Obama………….well you get the picture.

Politics the world over needs more LBJs and Nixons. Real and brutal politicians who call it as it is, not how we want to believe it is. Using their judgement which has been honed over a lifetime of experience.

That’s leadership.


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