mad in pursuit journal

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS, AT THE intersection OF spin-zone and competence

Charisma and Competence

Still thinking about local leadership.

How should charisma balance with "closework" (when the results are crucial, the ability to undertake extremely precise missions, which demand the very highest standards of intelligence, training, preparation, timing and execution -- definition credit to Joe Klein, New Yorker 11/1/01).

Observing: Barack Obama

I like him but am wary of the all-charisma factor. The last thing we need is to elect another spin-zone President. If he's a biracial Bill Clinton, I'll go for him. But where's the experience, the coming back from adversity and defeat?

Watching: "House"

I'm a little alarmed at "House" this season. Has it really been a Fox-network metaphor for the Bush White House all along? First, it's okay to do whatever you want because you're always right. But now, he's running amok, ruining friends' lives, because he won't give up the vicodin. He's "staying the course." The policeman represents the mature authority figure who won't let the spoiled brat have his way.

It's annoying to see that a medical team at a university hospital descend into bickering when their bad-boy genius is having a tantrum. Not good: when a charismatic leader is a bad teacher and has only taught his team that they can't do a thing without him.

Catching up on: Season 6 "CSI"

Gil Grissom is less exciting than Gregory House, but more like the kind of real world leader we need right now. The job's the focus. Let's collect evidence, test lots of theories, but come to conclusions based on facts, not ideology. Like House, except that Grissom's team has learned how to do good work.

Maybe Hillary Clinton is the Gil Grissom of 2008 right now. Not charismatic, but smart, competent, does her homework and is apparently a good team player. And she has Bill. Maybe she's the one to get the badly needed closework done.


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