Leadership Skills Missing?

Four GOP candidates this last week have made comments that say a lot about their character or lack thereof and whether they have the leadership skills to sit as this nation’s Chief Executive.  Let’s take a look at each one.

Visiting her friend Laura Ingraham on her talk show this last Friday Michele Bachman made several comments about China that may or may not be true but are out of line for someone who wants to represent themselves as “the leader of the free world.”

“I’m not sharing something I shouldn’t, but China has blinded United States satellites with their lasers,” said Bachmann, who reiterated that she sits on the House Intelligence Commitee.

“They’ve also supplied arms to the Taliban, and they’ve helped North Korea deliver missiles to Iran and Pakistan. And they’ve assisted Iran with their nuclear program.”

She also mentioned China’s “cyber attacks”on the U.S. and “currency manipulation.”

“China has widespread intellectual property theft of United States intellectual property,” she said. “Don’t forget that. They’ve also been engaged in industrial espionage against the West as well. And they actively have engaged in cyber attacks both on our military and on our commercial companies.”  SOURCE

It’s true that China is not an ally of ours but neither are they considered an enemy either, and for good reason.  They own a large amount of our current debt and setting them up as a foe weakens any efforts we have made in closing the cold war hostilities between the two governments while opening their markets further for trade which can only aid our weak economic condition at this time.

Her comments also presume that another sovereign nation doesn’t have the right to protect itself against viable threats from other nations as we do.  Those satellites are more than likely spying on Chinese operations that are considered critical to the Defense Department and if the shoe were on the other foot we would do the same thing.  And if China is in fact aiding countries that we are enemies with, is this anything different from what we do enable our national security through the support of countries like Israel, the Philippines, the Ukraine and South Korea who pose a threat so close to Russia and China?

Perhaps Bachman is just assuring Americans that she is not unaware that the world is a dangerous place and she knows who to keep an eye on but her diplomatic tact here is missing and indicates a failure of leadership to deal with this issue in ways that don’t antagonize a super power that we are trying to convince that it’s in their best interests to work with us than against us.  As the Chief Executive you deal with these issues behind the scenes and not by waving a menacing finger in their face.


Rick Perry is apologizing for something he shouldn’t simply to keep his red-meat supporters from thinking he supports illegal immigration. He said he erred in last week’s presidential debate, when he said that opponents of in-state college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants were heartless.

“I probably chose a poor word to explain that. For people who don’t want their state to be giving tuition to illegal aliens, illegal immigrants in this country, that’s their call; I respect that,” Perry told the conservative magazine Newsmax in an interview posted online Thursday. “I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word and it was inappropriate.”

The interview seeks to temper the fallout from last Thursday’s debate in Florida, when he defended in stark terms the legislation he’d approved as governor that granted in-state college tuition to the children of illegal immigrants.

“[I]f you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society,” Perry said. – SOURCE 

It is heartless to deprive the children of illegal parents a right to an education because through no fault of their own they are here because their parents sought a better life for them.  Who would punish any child for the violations of law their parents have committed?

I am wondering however where Perry comes off accusing other people of being heartless after showing no remorse for having the highest rate of prisoner executions in the free world (234), saying he’s “never struggled with that at all” when asked if he had trouble sleeping with the idea that any one of those who were executed might have been innocent.  Can he be that oblivious that the justice system in Texas is broken when it’s been revealed that during his tenure as Governor more people serving sentences in Texas prisons have been exonerated (41) “through DNA testing than in any other state in the country” and that he allowed the execution of Cameron Todd Willingham who may quite likely have been innocent of the charge that he killed his children.

"Do I believe in anything?"

One of those attacking Perry’s “heartless” comment is Mitt Romney.

“I fundamentally believe that it doesn’t make a lot of sense for American taxpayers to pay for the college education of illegal aliens particularly at a time when American taxpayers are having a hard time financing education for their own children,” Romney said Tuesday on conservative talk radio.

Romney is merely trying to score points with the extreme right base within the GOP but again, doesn’t this show a lack of leadership where inflammatory statements only serve to alienate a growing population in this country who, whether legal or illegal citizens, have  provided great benefits and service to this country?  Isn’t Romney aware that Marine Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, an illegal immigrant, was the first American serviceman to die in Bush’s War in Iraq?


And lastly, there were the comments by Ron Paul that at least were consistent with his Libertarian views but demonstrated an inability to see beyond his black and white political views when commenting on the death of known al-Qaeda member, Anwar Al-Awlaki, who was targeted and killed by a U.S. drone attack.

I don’t think that’s a good way to deal with our problems,” Paul said in a media avail after his remarks at the Politics + Eggs event here. “He was born here, Al-Awlaki was born here, he is an American citizen. He was never tried or charged for any crimes. No one knows if he killed anybody. We know he might have been associated with the underwear bomber. But if the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it’s sad.

“I think what would people … have said about Timothy McVeigh? We didn’t assassinate him, who certainly he had done it. Went and put through the courts then executed him. To start assassinating American citizens without charges, we should think very seriously about this.”

Someone should have informed Mr. Paul that Timothy McVeigh was captured before it was known he was the Oklahoma City Bomber.  It’s an apples to oranges comparison to view the two in the same scenario.  Had McVeigh become a fugitive of the law we would  have hunted him down and brought him to justice as recently happened with U.S.  fugitive George Wright after 40 years.

Al-Awlaki was not a fugitive from justice but a professed enemy of the U.S. hiding in hostile foreign territory and appeared to be deeply involved with conspiracies to do harm to American life and property.  Such people are no longer covered by the Constitution or so says “Kenneth Anderson, an international law scholar at American University’s Washington College of Law, [who says] U.S. citizens who take up arms with an enemy force have been considered legitimate targets through two world wars, even if they are outside what is traditionally considered the battlefield.”

I have commented on where I feel President Obama has failed at leadership skills but for those on the right who would criticize him on this subject, there doesn’t seem to be much they’re offering that can stack up against him.  The anticipation that New Jersey governor Chris Christie may enter the race to offset these extremist in their Party is perhaps a good sign.  But one should ask why they are ignoring perhaps the only level-headed candidate that is currently running on the GOP ticket – John Huntsmen.  Is it because “crazy” has it appeal to the GOP base?


7 responses to “Leadership Skills Missing?

  1. I don’t see how anyone can see these people as human beings after hearing the audience reactions during their debates.Anyone with a brain should fear their influence on the voting public and should do their best to make sure none get elected. As for Michele Bachmann’s comments on China: Again, she is using the fear card that worked so well with the cold war. I think we will find that a lot of people will respond “positively” to her anti-China campaign.

  2. Thanks for not ignoring Ron Paul. He deserves equal analysis and criticism, but is often ignored, along with Herman and John and others who get so little press, I’d have to go look up their names.

    • I like Paul for his consistency and our shared views that wars, for all intents and purposes, should still be waged with the approval of congress.

      But he’s a die-hard Libertarian and in his world view there is no room for social programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. I think his ideological view that believes the “free hand of the market” will balance everything out is a standard that ignores not only men’s greed but that such correction may take so long and people who need a helping hand will die in large numbers before this occurs.

      • Many of Paul’s Libertarian ideas are not workable. Some of his ideas are great! I’m glad he’s being somewhat heard. He says what he thinks, not what a few uber-donors or a poll tell him to say. A true leader will at least be honest about what they think is best for the nation. Unfortunately, that’s not what we’re getting with the puppets who are in the top three for GOP nomination.

      • Don’t mean to put you on the spot Joan but do you see yourself voting for Paul in the primaries?

        I could see myself doing that or voting for John Huntsman if he is still in the hunt when primaries hit Texas next March.

        You can vote in GOP primaries here in Texas and then vote either Party in the general election. Many liberals like myself in this ultra-red state always vote for the most moderate Republican in the primaries in hopes of pushing the GOP selection for the general election closer to the center. Unfortunately there are not many candidates in the GOP here that are left of Attila the Hun

  3. Larry,

    I’m surprised you didn’t give Cain more of a look. He did win the Florida straw poll after all and that worries me. In the past 30 years, the candidate who won that poll went on to get the GOP nod. My recent post takes aim at Cain and his 9-9-9 plan. I’d like to see what you have to say about him.

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