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Showing posts from April, 2009

Obama’s Teleprompter: The Warning Sign of Weakness

Obama had far less of a honeymoon period for his Presidency than might have been expected given his large majorities and high popularity. The reason for this, in my view, was his lack of skill. One of the things that people forget is that politics is a skill, just like anything else in life. It takes practice and effort. Obama, due to his inexperience, is now facing some key challenges that crimp his political power.

For example, his lack of experience in legislating cost him early when his efforts failed so publicly in the area of bipartisanship. The explanation that makes the most sense to me is that he trusted the House leadership to draft a fair stimulus package, but they took advantage of his inexperience and harmed his image in the process. One consequence of this “bone-headed” mistake was a startling 100% united opposition to his efforts among Republicans and fractures in his own party as moderate Blue Dog Democrats split off from Obama’s coalition.

His inexperience also harmed h…

Thoughts on the Florida Congresswoman Who Hid Her Cancer Surgeries

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Back in March 2009, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat of Florida, revealed that for the last year, she had battled breast cancer. What surprised me, as a student of politics, was her ability to keep this information secret. Apparently, Rep. Wasserman had seven major surgeries, including a double mastectomy and removal of her ovaries with out this information leaking out the the general public. Only in March of this year did she reveal her decisions to have such cancer-prone areas removed because of a genetic predisposition.

Rep. Wasserman, in her early 40s, said she didn’t release the news for a few reasons. “I really wanted to make sure that I could protect my children; they were 8 and 4.”

This story caught my attention because I know charismatic leaders have a powerful incentive to hide the bad news about their health. Reagan, for example, was quite hurt after he took a bullet…but he looked all cheerful and robust peaking out of his hospital window.

As a political scienti…