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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Where's the leadership?

Wesley Clark has posted an excellent piece at TPMCafe on the hurricane and the failure of leadership form this administration.

Below is the best section from his piece.

I hope you had a chance to read today's editorial in the New York Times, called "Waiting for a Leader." If you haven't read it yet, please take a few minutes to do it. The Times is asking an important question. It's one I've been asking for a long time as well: Where is the leadership in America today?

With respect to Iraq, "stay the course" is only a slogan, not a strategy. What is our strategy for success in Iraq? Where is the leadership?

The president's own Republican party just passed an energy bill which has absolutely no effect on gas prices for now or the forseeable future, and moves us no further along the path to energy independence. Where is the leadership?

Every day American technology and manufacturing skills are sent abroad, along with American jobs. Where is the leadership?

Again, just this past week, there was at least 36 hours notice that a major hurricane was going to hit the Gulf Coast, including likely a devastating blow to New Orleans, which certainly came to pass. The President continued with his regular schedule on Monday and Tuesday in California, Arizona, and Texas to hold some staged Medicare events and enjoy more vacation time, while finally returning to the White House yesterday. The joint task force including National Guard set up by the Pentagon failed to be on the scene in New Orleans in a timely manner to stop the looting and assist in the evacuation. Where is the leadership?

Then just this morning, the President claimed that no one could have anticipated the levee breaches we've seen in New Orleans after Katrina hit. That's not leadership, that's an excuse. In fact, people have predicted this kind of disaster for many years, including President Bush's own FEMA in 2001, when they ranked hurricane flood damage to New Orleans among the three likeliest, most catastrophic disasters facing America. Instead, funding was significantly cut back, leaving key engineering projects on hold. Instead, this Administration focused on the war in Iraq, tax cuts, and private sector economic growth without asking the American people to make needed sacrifices for the good of the country. Again I ask you, where is the leadership?

You've got to keep asking that question. What I learned about leadership is that you have to give people challenging goals and work with them and inspire them to reach them. You've got to have the courage to set goals and make a difference.

Leadership for America starts with the leader's vision of where you want the country to be. And that's the problem we have in America today. We need visionary leaders who can see the promise and potential of our country and take us there. We can find those leaders again -- and we must.