Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Three Declarations

Sesame Street - Jazz #3
Animated. 1969. Vocals: Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane; piano and clavinet:
Composer Denny Zeitlin; drums: Bobby Natanson; bass: Mel Graves.

Transforming America: Obama's Three Core Commitments

One. Two. Three.

Three fundamental declarations.

Last January I wrote:

Group News Blog


Leaders create the future. They bring it forth. They declare it. They speak, and in the moment of their speaking, the future is.

John F. Kennedy and we SHALL put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

In that moment, we "shall it," all of us, the entire country. Kennedy declared our future. He brought it forth. He languaged it. And as one, we moved forward to meet the challenge, more or less, together.

If you were alive July 20, 1969, and of a certain age and in the western world, you watched as Jack Kennedy's declaration unfolded. I was ten years old and I remember everything.

That's leadership in action. Leaders make DECLARATIONS.

Genuine declarations -- "Strike! Ball! Strike Three and you're OUT!" "Guilty" "By the authority invested in me by the State of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you husband and husband" -- are true in the moment they are said.


Managers operate at a different level from executives.

Executives make the fundamental declarations of the enterprise:

What business are we in? Who are we competing with? Who is our long term strategic ally? What price should we buy and what should we sell at? Who are our key hires?

Managers aren't about declarations. Managers are about requests:

Please get x done by time y. I need the Johnson report done by Friday, Tom. Increase sales 10% this quarter, Sally. Go talk to legal and get clearance for me to sue those bastards. Call IT and find out when I can have a new monitor, please. Deborah, if you ever pull that shit again, you're fired.

This isn't to say managers don't engage in strategic thinking or speculating, or being lobbied by their workers for this, that or the other thing. Managers get lobbied a lot. The term, "office politics" was invented to bitch talk about managers lobbying each other and making inane requests. But at some point, managers turn all the speculating and lobbying into action.

They start making requests.

Declarations which change the direction of the enterprise fundamentally, are outside the scope of managerial thinking. It's why managers have such a hard time transitioning into enterprise-level executives. It's a different linguistic skill set.

Fundamentally, managers make requests.


Workers are all about competence. Why?

Because workers sell their ability to make and keep promises. Workers in an enterprise are paid for how competent they are at making and keeping promises in a particular domain of action.

Whom do they make these promises to? Their manager.

From surgeon to pilot, writer to actor, gay hooker (*waves to Jeff Gannon*) to Special Assistant to the President of the United States, workers sell competence at making and keeping promises.

A worker obviously has to know what they're doing -- the more competent, the better. But showing too much interest in stuff outside your field of knowledge will get the other workers pissed at you for busting the curve. You need to stick with what you know, not head into the unknown. You're there to deliver on your promises. That's how you get paid.

Executive = Declarations: bring forth, generate something new, lead.
Manager = Requests: please do x by time y with condition of satisfaction z.
Worker = Promises: deliver competent performance in a domain, over and over.

And never the twain shall meet.

Let's walk it back to our Presidential candidates.

One speaks in declarations, inspires, leads.
The second requests you elect him to fix problems, lobbies for a change so he can fix the system.
The third talks of her competence and experience, promises she will do what she's always done, and has the policy plans and papers to prove it.

Leader. Manager. Worker.

Obama is breaking out now because he speaks the language of a leader.

Obama's vision is true right now.

Watch him at the 100 Club Dinner in New Hampshire.

He's not making promises, even when the words coming out of his mouth are a promise. ALL of everything he's saying is a declaration, a future which is true now because he speaks it.

When Obama speaks, he creates a future of an America in which all of us together will take on the troubles we know in our heart are coming and repair the damages which have occurred. Every time Obama opens his mouth, that future is more and more real. It happens AS he speaks. Obama's speaking makes it so. By declaration.
President-Elect Obama said Election Night:
The New York Times

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: (Cheers, applause.) Hello, Chicago. (Cheers, applause.)

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our Founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. (Cheers, applause.)

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled -- (cheers) -- Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states; we are and always will be the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.)

It's the answer that -- that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day. It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America. (Cheers, applause.)


Now, I know you didn't do this just to win an election, and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime: two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education.

There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term, but America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you: We as a people will get there. (Cheers, applause.)

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

MR. OBAMA: There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know the government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek; it is only the chance for us to make that change.

And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice. So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.

Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers. In this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House -- a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity. Those are values we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. (Cheers, applause.)

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends -- though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too. (Cheers, applause.)

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. (Cheers, applause.) To those -- to those who would tear the world down: we will defeat you. (Cheers, applause.) To those who seek peace and security: we support you. (Cheers, applause.) And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals -- democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope. (Cheers, applause.)

That's the true genius of America, that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She is a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election, except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old. (Cheers, applause.)

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons, because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin. And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America: the heartache and the hope, the struggle and the progress, the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed, yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the Dust Bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can!

MR. OBAMA: When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can!

MR. OBAMA: She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We shall overcome." Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can!

MR. OBAMA: A man touched down on the Moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes, we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can.

MR. OBAMA: America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there's so much more to do. So tonight let us ask ourselves, if our children should live to see the next century, if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time -- to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope; and where we are met with cynicism and doubt and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can.

MR. OBAMA: Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America. (Cheers, applause.)

Declarative speech.

This is the Presidential Voice.

Were some promises made? Well... not so much. What may appear to be promises, were actually ALL declarations.

Throughout the campaign and his victory speech, Obama was declaring a radical shift in the direction of the country -- Change We Can Believe In -- combined with creating TRUST that he personally and that his future administration can be trusted.

Obama is making three fundamental declarations:
  • Renewable green energy is the basis of America's future
  • Our Troops are coming home from Iraq
  • Everyone has a right to health care
This is Obama's New Deal for the 21st Century.

Everything is included here.
  • Education. Everyone has a right to a college education, in exchange for national or military service. This education is necessary for America to advance in this new world we are creating.
  • Broadband. Necessary for education, telecomuting, telemedicine, monitoring the new smart electrical grid, serving our Veterans.
  • Economy. Stop sending $10-12 Billion a month to Iraq, massive infrastructure investment, backing the dollar with a basket of green energy produced by high-tech the United States invented and is the world-leader at producing instead of the oil-dollar, which allows us to leave the Middle-East which means our Homeland Security costs drop as the world stops trying to kill us.
  • National Security. Leaving the Middle-East would be a good start, as would be moving off oil. Being the world leader in high-tech energy would give us new weapons. Plus tech is normally a U.S. military edge.
  • Foreign Affairs. Handling our economy, stopping invading other countries, and producing clean energy, which means clean water everywhere (as Michael Moore among others has pointed out) all would go a LONG way towards making the U.S. a shining city on a hill again in the eyes of the world. Plus we really need to migrate the dollar away from oil before we have to kill every brown person in the world in order to support it.
  • Food. The change in energy gives us a a new agricultural world, which changes how the world eats, which may well prevent a global famine as we transition through peak oil.
  • Politics. Getting rid of oil as a fuel for cars, also means KING CORN doesn't matter as a fuel for cars any more, which means no one gives a shit about IOWA as a Caucus State after 2016, 2020 at the absolute latest. *grins*
EVERYTHING ties back to these three core declarations.
  • Priority 1 - The Three or Necessary to the Three (Strategic)
  • Priority 2 - Important Politically (reelect) or Useful to the Three (Tactical)
  • Priority 3 - Politically useful or vaguely related to the Three
  • Priority 4 - EVERYTHING else.
  • Oppose - In the way of Priority 1 or 2. And maybe 3 if it's a Three thing.
Obama has a political window of roughly one year, perhaps a year and a quarter, to get these three declarations entirely embodied via Legislative Acts.

As President, Obama will be racing four clocks: political capital, the economy, outside events such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters, and the mid-terms.

Obama's mandate is for CHANGE. If a year goes by with nothing happening and then something bad happens, he's an instant lame duck. He must act immediately. The Republicans will try to destroy him simply by refusing to pass anything; this is why preventing filibusters will be critical.

Obama needs to ACT on all three declarations and associated projects even before he takes office.

By spring, New Deal 2.0 -- Renewable Green Energy including a complete smart electrical grid, national health care, national college and service plans, taking care of our returning Veterans, and a broad investment in our national infrastructure and economy -- needs to be passed by Congress and signed by the President.

This spending -- and the commitment to continue deficit spending, especially as we pull out of Iraq -- will begin to help the economy, which will handle the mid-terms. If all goes well, we might -- might -- see a few pickups. Then a little bit more and we're in to the reelect. Then New Deal 2.1, which should stabilize everything and set the tone for the next lifetime, just as FDR's New Deal has lasted over 75 years.

Obama is modeling himself after Lincoln, after Roosevelt, after presidents who were masters of declarative speech, of taking clear stands, and of outsmarting their enemies. They were professionals.

People believe American Presidents, because real Presidents speak for everyone.

President Bush is still President of the United States. *sighs* He has been issuing/allowing what I can only call proclamations/executive rulings, and then lying about them. The ones which his own administration does not prevail upon him to reverse prior to his leaving office, hopefully the Obama Administration will reverse, or ask Congress to reverse in a large bill.

Two months, one day.

Change is coming to America.

Weekly Address from the President-Elect - November 14, 2008