Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Demanding Answers

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Presidential race and the remaining front runners. Last year, Katie Couric asked if we’d come up with some questions, based on my latest book Where Have All The Leaders Gone?, to ask the candidates.

Take a look at the following questions. Do you know any of the candidates’ responses to them?

1. Leaders are not born; they’re made in times of crisis. Name a crisis that you have faced, and talk about how you demonstrated leadership.

2. Name your two primary models for leadership from the past 50 years. These are the individuals you call to mind when you’re faced with a tough decision.

3. The ability to collaborate with those who have different ideas and approaches is a key factor in leadership. Give an example of a time (professionally or politically) when you have successfully collaborated with people who have different views.

4. As a businessman I learned that the best way to fully understand what it means to be responsible is to meet a payroll every week. In your life, when have you had tangible responsibility for the livelihoods of others – and what did the experience teach you about leadership?

5. Being President is not a one person job. The team is just as important. Are you prepared to tell voters who will be on your team so they can make an educated choice? In particular, who are your candidates for Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense and Attorney General? (If you’re not prepared to name them, can you name individuals from recent history who have excelled in those positions?)

6. The United State has one of the lowest voter turnout rates among democratic nations – especially for young single adults. What will you do to encourage young people to vote and participate in government?

7. A leader inspires others to participate fully in the life of democracy. The words of JFK – “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country” – still resonate. Give a specific example of what you will ask citizens to do, and what sacrifices you will ask them to make.

Maybe if these questions are circulated to millions by email (just like the first chapter of my book), the tough questions will get asked and the candidates will feel obliged to give the American people an answer!

Monday, February 11, 2008

What Is Freedom?

It’s been awhile since my last blog. I took a break over the winter holidays and then “my guy” pulled out of the presidential race. For the time being at least, it’s back to business as usual.

Several weeks ago I received a letter from a boy scout who was working on a project for a citizenship badge. The subject was freedom. He wanted to know my definition. I said the following:

“There are those who never have known freedom and those who were born free but have had their freedom taken away. I am an American and was born free and still have my freedom. I do not have the experience of what it is like to not have freedom.”

We all need to be diligent about our freedom.