Spoke to a really smart business consultant and professor who focuses on innovation last night. She spoke with excitement about some of the organizational processes that are shifting to drive more innovative business cultures and products. Asked her when such processes might come to politics. She said they're already here, having come in with our current president.
Obama, for her, is the new model of politics. It's about collaboration. But as she suggested, collaboration is not sweet. It's messy. To paraphrase her, "he knows that what's needed is to put opponents in a room and have them rip each other to shreds till something new and positive emerges." She pointed out the huge portfolio of casualties Obama inherited, some from his predecessor but just as many due to the changing nature of America's global role, technology, and new players. When I said he's starting to remind me of Hamlet, more dithering than generative contemplation, she rightfully pointed out that his decisions will have huge impact. It may not be satisfying to watch a thinker in action but the fruits of the thinking will, at least, be considered.
That said, Maureen Dowd 's column today and another piece in the British Spectator, both suggest a man who playing a very tough game. The Spectator piece is particularly troubling, as it gives a British perspective of an American president insultingly uninterested in solidifying alliances with allies - at a time when those allies are fairly important. And this is happening on both a foreign and domestic court. Instead, he seems to have a passionate interest in courting adversaries. That's dramatic but my concern is, brilliantly strategic as he may be, Obama may have a slight addiction to the drama - not of big pronouncements (like Bush) - but something equally corrosive; befriending dragons cause it's more interesting than building something with existing friends.
Hope not. And my cryptic title, aside, I genuinely hope any easy clever quips made here prove me more wrong than our president, in no enviable position.