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Time to Get to the Front of the Health Care Parade

By       Message P. A. Triot     Permalink
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A couple of years ago there was a Democratic politician who announced his candidacy for president of the United States and championed health care reform as a key part of his campaign.

By golly, that Democratic candidate's message caught the imagination of the American people and he was elected president over a hapless Republican candidate whose name is now forgotten (although that Republican's running mate continues to this day to prove she wasn't then, and is not now, smart enough to be considered anything but a bimbo).

Throughout his campaign, that Democratic candidate spoke of the merits of a single-payer health care system.

We all know who is the subject of this little story----it is Barack Hussein Obama.

Nowadays everyone refers to him as Mr. President.

President Obama's campaign started a movement, a veritable groundswell of people from across the political spectrum.

However, within weeks of his inauguration Mr. President dropped the terminology of single-payer (because such a move would be "just too disruptive" for the health-insurance and pharmaceutical industries). Instead of single-payer, Mr. President began using the term "public option," with no definition of just what that meant.

Then, the president apparently cut a deal with the pharmaceutical industry that promised the government would never negotiate prescription drug prices.
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After that, Mr. President embraced insurance cooperatives (also called "exchanges") as a term synonymous with "public option."

When cooperatives and exchanges became dead on arrival at Sen. Harry Reid's committee to reconcile the two Senate bills, President Obama caved in to the only Republican who would even sit at the health care reform discussion table, Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. He began began touting Snowe's "trigger" qualification as the way to be eligible for the public option plan.

Mr. President failed to realize that the movement he spawned some 28 months earlier had developed into a national parade consisting of some 70% of the American people.

I spent 10 or 12 years teaching, coaching, speaking and advocating leadership. I completed post-graduate work and research in leadership. I think I can legitimately call myself an expert.

One thing I know for sure is that it's impossible to be a leader without followers. That's one of the key differences between leaders and managers: leadership demands that there are followers; management demands only authority, while those being managed may or may not be followers. (There are several more important differences between leaders and managers that are not relevant to this discussion.)
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Another thing I know is that there are times when the followers get far ahead of their leader and if the leader does not do something he or she risks becoming merely incidental to the movement (and its success).

So here we have a movement that grew out of President Obama's campaign promises into a national parade that seems to be marching under its own momentum and leaving president watching from the sidelines.

In politics, leaders are defined as those politicians who know when to get in front of the parade and lead that parade where it's going anyway.

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P. A. Triot is the pen name of a retired journalist.

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