Thursday, March 27, 2008

What makes a great presidential candidate

Does Hillary still have a chance?  Currently, she will need to win two thirds of the delegates in the states that have not yet voted.  This will be very difficult for her to accomplish.  Yet hope remains that she can persuade some large proportion of super delegates that she is the only candidate that can win.

Given the broad appeal and  leadership qualities that Obama already has demonstrated, this is going to be close to impossible.  She must be hoping that some huge character flaw of his will be brought to light.  Despite Hillary's own personal strengths and the issues on which she has demonstrated she will choose and strongly support those who truly need help, she hasn't inspired us in the way Obama has.

Leadership is more than making the right policy decisions, more than strongly pushing to make those policy decisions work, more than being a smart person with great experience in and knowledge of public affairs.  Leadership, almost by definition, is the ability to get other people to work together to accomplish something important.  I don't have the definitive answer to what makes a great leader, but I'm pretty sure it has to do with raising hopes, raising confidence, raising awareness, and making people feel that they want to do something, whatever that something is.   They have to have confidence, too, that the outcome will be what they want.

The great leader can get right into your head and become something like the conscience that your parents and grandparents planted there.  His/her words and urgings sit there in your conscience, ringing some kind of chord that has its roots in what you believe is right and just.  Because it works at this very fundamental level, it is a powerful force.

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