Iacocca on Leaadership?

Lee Iacocca has written an article called Where Have All the Leaders Gone? over at Common Dreams Based on his book by the same name, Iacocca blasts the current administration and state of affairs.

Had Enough?
Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder.  

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We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.”

Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I’ll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!

Iacocca describes his  “C” list that serves as a “test of a leader”:  Curiosity, Creative, Communicate, Character, Courage, Charisma, Conviction, Competent, Common Sense.  He states that the Biggest “C” is Crisis.

Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It’s easy to sit there with your feet up on the desk and talk theory. Or send someone else’s kids off to war when you’ve never seen a battlefield yourself. It’s another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. Where was George Bush? He was reading a story about a pet goat to kids in Florida when he heard about the attacks. He kept sitting there for twenty minutes with a baffled look on his face. It’s all on tape. You can see it for yourself. Then, instead of taking the quickest route back to Washington and immediately going on the air to reassure the panicked people of this country, he decided it wasn’t safe to return to the White House. He basically went into hiding for the day—and he told Vice President Dick Cheney to stay put in his bunker. We were all frozen in front of our TVs, scared out of our wits, waiting for our leaders to tell us that we were going to be okay, and there was nobody home. It took Bush a couple of days to get his bearings and devise the right photo op at Ground Zero.

That was George Bush’s moment of truth, and he was paralyzed. And what did he do when he’d regained his composure? He led us down the road to Iraq—a road his own father had considered disastrous when he was President. But Bush didn’t listen to Daddy. He listened to a higher father. He prides himself on being faith based, not reality based. If that doesn’t scare the crap out of you, I don’t know what will.

Common Dreams started allowing comments to its articles.  There are some very interesting points made to this post:

what leaders?!?!? have not seen one in years!!!!! Iacocca, were you ever a leader? what did you ever do to improve the overall quality of life in the united states. after 82 years….well… better late than never. use your “business skills” to empower people!

I have news for the gang in Congress. We didn’t elect you to sit on your asses and do nothing and remain silent while our democracy is being hijacked and our greatness is being replaced with mediocrity. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bobblehead on Fox News will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don’t you guys show some spine for a change?”

And the “gang” in Congress, as you sensibly call them, has news for you too, Lee. Currently, it’s called the PR Plan. The Pelosi-Reid Plan to Abolish America:

Pelosi and Reid have turned to their plan for controlling Iraq – popularly known as the PR Plan.

They vowed, “We will work with the President in whatever way we can.” They meant the statement to be totally ambiguous, but unfortunately for them, upon uttering it, the official pair instantly collapsed to the ground, apparently for lack of some vital measure of blood and bone, as well as some bizarre overabundance of scales, claws, and oozing oil.

“Defunding the war immediately is totally impossible,” uttered Pelosi and Reid in unison while slithering across the ground, sliming their way back to their Gang of Democrats. The Republican Gang applauded silently from the side.

“It seems clear now,” one observer remarked, “that the Democrat and Republican parties are gone – if parties they ever were – and are replaced by gangs. Official suite gangs.” Oddly, no one was heard to contradict him.

Within hours, a person we can only identify as Deep Source delivered to us the following rather striking internal document. We have rarely seen a government document quite as internal as this, and we must confess, as good members of the press, we hope to see very few more like it. “The 10 Point PR Plan (For Internal Consumption Only)”:

1st: Pretend that you intend to end the War against Iraq.




Dear Mr. Iacocca: Once again I read a clear delineation of the problems this country confronts, and I agree with your findings. Unfortunately, no one in our government is willing to respond with the same firmness and clarity, least of all, those who most want to head the government. There is not a leader in the lot, though one or two – Mr. Kucinich or Mr. Gravel, perhaps – show some potential. But to articulate the problems is not enough. Nor is your call to “shake off the horseshit and go to work.” What is missing most, what we are seeking, is an equally clear course of action to take. We are all tired of the garbage that passes as news, the platitudes our overpaid politicians have convinced themselves are meaningful. We are all outraged at the actions of those who pretend to be leaders. We need something more, much more. I now find myself among people so disheartened that they are talking reluctantly and sadly about the growing need for a tangible revolution, because everything else seems to have failed to produce a badly needed change.

I tend to agree with the readers: “Where have all the leaders gone?” is a misnomer indeed.


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