The Mask of Leadership

As I sit here and watch NFL football, my thoughts drift to other things. Yes, I read Paul Krugman’s idiotic piece regarding “the years of shame” since 9/11. If you want to read it, be my guest. I must tell you, however, that he’s not allowing any comments. Gee, I wonder why.

No, my thoughts are centered on what leadership is. After doing my show today, I was struck by the unbelievable heroism on 9/11 and the tragic acquiescence of responsibility for one’s own circumstance.

While listening to countless audio files and watching endless videos about 9/11 in preparation for my show, something stood out. Orio Palmer, a Battalion Chief and firefighter, learned that the south stairwell of the South Tower was virtually free of obstruction as he raced upwards to assist people on the upper floors. This unobstructed stairwell could have been a major escape route for the people in that Tower. Why didn’t they find it?

I will grant the victims the fact that smoke and chaos were major impediments to their escape. But yet, in recorded calls from the South Tower, most sat there and waited to be rescued, sealing their doom. What prevented them from doing everything possible to find a way out?

I believe there are two types of people in this world. Those that lead and those that need leadership to guide them. I’m not suggesting for a second that I fall into the “leadership” column. I’m just offering up an idea. Leadership is not something that can be espoused as an attribute of one’s personality. It is something that becomes manifest in crisis.

As an example, I watched the Texas-BYU football game last night on TV. The starting quarterback for Texas, Garrett Gilbert, had a horrible first half. His status as the starting quarterback was based on his performance in practice, yet, under game circumstances, he faltered badly.

In the second half, Texas opted to go with 2 underclassmen at quarterback, a freshman and a sophomore. In an amazing bit of irony, Case McCoy, a sophomore and the younger brother of Colt McCoy, saved the day. Colt McCoy holds the NCAA Division 1 record with the most wins as a starting quarterback (45), which he set while attending….the University of Texas.

Case McCoy may not be the “best” quarterback that Texas has, but he used the skills he does have to lead his team to victory. In summary, he showed leadership under immense pressure. How much should that count for a football team? How much should that count in politics?

As conservatives, we are faced with choosing a candidate to challenge Barack Obama’s leadership skills (or lack of them, to be specific). In that regard, what do we look for?

Do we look at a candidate’s self-professed mask of leadership, or do we look for someone who has a proven ability to lead under pressure? I don’t know about you, but I vote for Case McCoy and Sarah Palin!