President Obama's need for continued leadership coaching astonishes me. His inexperience rears its ugly head almost daily. Leadership lessons have had to become a regular feature on my nationally syndicated nightly radio show, and this particular lesson may be coming too late for our president. His inability to master this crucial lesson may already have cost him his ability to muster any effectiveness in his remaining time as president..
Lesson: You cannot afford to major in the minors.
When you major in the minors, you squander your opportunity at accomplishing anything meaningful. Little things unnecessarily become big things, and the important issues languish and wither from neglect. Ask Jimmy Carter. More significantly, when you major in the minors as Commander-in-Chief, you may recklessly endanger the lives of American soldiers and weaken America's security at the same time.
Case in point. Obama's fiendish obsession with the “Don't Ask Don't Tell” policy has now borne strife and dissension in our own Joint Chiefs of Staff. Believe it or not, our own president has driven a very public wedge between the nation's highest-ranking military officer and the four service chiefs who collectively make up the Joint Chiefs.
Witness the missives fired off last week by Generals Norton Schwartz (Air Force chief), and George Casey, Jr. (Army chief), as well as Admiral Gary Roughead (Navy chief). These three members of the Joint Chiefs reacted strongly and vocally when they discovered that the White House had reached a back-room compromise deal with Congressional leaders to pass immediately the repeal of the “Don't Ask Don't Tell” policy without waiting for the Pentagon's previously-authorized review to be completed by December 1. Joint Chiefs Chair, Admiral Mike Mullen, knew of the compromise deal, but no other chiefs did. They never even saw the language of the compromise before the Congressional votes.
Admiral Mullen cooperated with the president, but lost the support of his own team in doing so. They were rightly incensed at having been excluded from the conversation as well as the lack of Obama's vaunted “transparency.” Worst of all, the chiefs each noted in their letters to members of Congress that passing the repeal will send the message to the present troops that their voice is not only not going to be considered, it is not going to be heard at all.
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