The Spectacle Blog

Leaders Do What They Do, Therefore …

By on 3.15.11 | 9:35AM

Every leader worthy of notice has had some signature success, some achievement for which they are known. Except for the truly exceptional ones they will spend the rest of their careers following the same strategy they used in the original effort.

Machiavelli wrote about this in his Discourses. Leaders do what they do. If their plan coincides well with the circumstances of the moment, then they will succeed. But if the plan with which they are comfortable does not mesh with the current operational reality, then they will fail. This is the operation of fortune about which Machiavelli often wrote.

Because of this dynamic of leadership, the next president must be a leader who has made a name as a budget cutter. There are moments when a builder of institutions and programs, a visionary, is the right person, but now is not that time. Now, the cutter must have his due. In other eras, the cutter would be too conservative, too careful to take necessary risks. Today, the cutter is in position to become a hero.

We must find a leader who has grown used to bucking the resistance of petty empire builders, bureaucrats, interest groups, unions, and legislators who count on drawing concentrated benefits from the public at large. Destiny calls. And those of us in the public must not miss the opportunity to elevate that person.

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