Through words and deeds, leaders set the standards and establish the tone of their constituency. Put simply, the public's conduct reflects its leadership. A disciple and teacher of Saul Alinsky's leadership principles, President Obama skillfully uses vilification, isolation and ridicule to achieve his ideological objectives. Alinsky teaches that there are strategic advantages to perpetuating polarizing discord and that the outcome justifies the means. Thus, President Obama targets individuals within groups rather than their ideas because "people hurt faster than institutions."
Great leaders don't diminish their predecessor in order to elevate themselves; they trust that history will be a fair arbiter of success. Great leaders promote teamwork, empower individuals and depersonalize public debate. They build upon commonalities and carefully avoid exacerbating differences through demeaning or derisive behavior. Great leaders focus on encouraging involvement, optimizing the process and highlighting positive outcomes. Above all else, they demonstrate character and credibility through the congruence between their actions and their words.
Is Barack Obama a great leader? He's a very cleaver person whose methods yield a predictable and proven outcome. The Congressional dysfunction and public polarization that we are experiencing in America today are a reflection of Obama's brand of "leadership."
• Summary of Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals'
• More Saul Alinsky stories: here
• 'Rules for Radicals' at amazon.com