Ethics and Political Leadership can they co-exist? – An Open Letter to President Obama

January 30, 2010

President Obama,

As I pen this letter, I do so with all but a faint amount of hope that perhaps some truth can be found in its contents and you could, through your actions, demonstrate what many thought might happen when they voted for you.  Then again, the word ‘politics’ seems to be out of place with the other words – ‘ethics’ and ‘leadership’.

You campaigned on ‘change.’  In your State of the Union address you stated,

I campaigned on the promise of change, change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren’t sure if they still believe we can change, or that I can deliver it.

Now, Mr. President is the time for that change to be seen and not heard from you as our leader.  Your actions will show that your campaign promises were not just rhetoric to get you elected, but true heart felt feelings of what America could be.  You further stated,

But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day. We can’t wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side, a belief that if you lose, I win.

You are 100% right about that statement.  American people are becoming so disillusioned about politicians and Washington insiders that they are becoming angry and believe that none of you can be trusted.  You are more concerned with being elected than you are with helping Americans.  That is not why you were sent and therefore, lacks integrity.

You addressed both parties in your State of the Union address and rightly you should have because few of those elected to public office in Washington have demonstrated by their actions that they care more about those who elected them than they care about their re-election.

ETHICS are defined as actions motivated based on ideas of right and wrong.  Mr. President, the next question I ask will surely define you and your potential Presidency.  Do you believe it is ethical to act on ideas that are right for the people even if they are wrong for your re-election?

If your answer is YES…then read on, if not…we’re wasting our time.

A LEADER is a person who rules or guides or inspires others.  You have, through your election, certainly inspired a demographic of voters to become engaged and active – to elect you on the promise of change.  Therefore Mr. President may I challenge you step up and show your LEADERSHIP.

Mr. President – ETHICAL LEADERSHIP now calls for dramatic unprecedented action.  It requires something that has not been done before and that will show more than just words, but true meaning behind your beliefs.

Mr. President – make the following commitment to the American people and I think you can guarantee your place in history – you will show something that has never been seen before.  You will show that the promise and idea of change is more powerful than just campaign words.  Mr. President do the following…

OVER THE COURSE OF 2010 – DO NOT CAMPAIGN FOR ANY CANDIDATE FOR ELECTED OFFICE IN WASHINGTON OR ANY STATE.  Show that you are more interested in results than campaigns.  Separate yourself from politics and become the ‘change leader’ that many Americans expected you to be. That means you should remain politically neutral.  Who cares what the party is if you’re getting the job done! Require both Democrats and Republicans to sit with each other in order to craft legislation that benefits the needs of Americans and publically call out any Senator or Representative who elects to bicker in partisan politics rather than work to represent those for whom they serve.  Do what you promised, make the process transparent and then Americans will gain what is so lacking in Washington – TRUST. Forget party and focus on how you can lead.

The American people do not need you to be the ‘same ole – same ole’ that they have seen for years.  Rather, it’s time to change how we do what we do and that change starts with you. If you want less partisanship then be less partisan.

I was told as a boy and then later in life – “A fish rots from the head down.”   As a kid I didn’t know what that meant…but I do now.  You’re the fish, Mr. President so, perhaps put better, “The buck stops with you.”  Guess the tone of Washington firmly rests with your decisions.  The choice is yours and, as I say speaking to groups on Ethics – EVERY CHOICE HAS A CONSEQUENCE.


Chuck Gallagher – American, Small Business Owner, Ethics Speaker and Author

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Guest Blog: It Depends On What You Mean By “Transparency”

January 8, 2010

As a business ethics speaker, I, from time to time, am pleased to have guest blogs featured on my site.  Ethics, by definition, are actions whose motivation is based on ideas of right and wrong.  In politics we hear, when someone is seeking election, a litany of ideas who have a fundamental ethics base.  Yet, when push comes to shove, it seems that ethics flies out the window and the politician is face with reality of accomplishing their agenda or operating ethically.  Guest blogger – Rick Krug – shares this in his piece entitled:  IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU MEAN BY “TRANSPARENCY” featured below:

As the Obama Administration continues to “duck and cover” over the attempted Christmas Day Boxer Bomber, it now finds itself searching for that Cloak of Invisibility regarding the health care debate. Having successfully locked out any Republican opposition by sheer numbers alone, the White House and both chambers of Congress have decided to have “informal” discussions on just how to craft the final health care overhaul. Now, when you read “informal”; this word is roughly translated “secret.”

For months before the 2008 election, candidate Obama was demanding the entire health care debate would be broadcast over C-Span, the cable station dedicated to all things US Government. By now, we have all seen the 8-10 video clips of Obama making this same promise to various rallies across America. When Nancy Pelosi was chosen as Speaker of the House in 2006, she stated, “This will be the most open and transparent government in history.”

Today, on CNN, John Cafferty essentially called Obama and the Democratic leadership liars as he pointed out the American public would not get to see the final outcome of the health care takeover until the secret meetings were over. In case you missed it, read the first sentence of this paragraph again: I said CNN made that charge – I know, you were thinking I said Fox News, right?

In fact, what was supposed to be the crowning glory for Obama and certain to place his face on Mount Rushmore, is now becoming the unmasking of what seems to be nothing more than a Chicago-style thug politician. Seriously, when Obama said the whole heath care debate would be on C-Span, I thought to myself, “wow, how would MCCain ever top that!” For starters, he might have simply kept his word. Is it just me, or does anyone else think the White House and Congress simply don’t care what Americans think….about anything?

So, just what am I missing about the word “Transparency?” I swear I thought it had something to do with being able to witness things in real time. Silly me.

I suppose I should have been suspicious when the 500 page starter yeast of the health care bill bloomed into a 1000 page bill, which, it seems, all those who were to vote on this thing admitted they had not even read. There probably should have been a couple of alarms going off in my head when the Senate version of this takeover sterioded out to over 2000 pages and nearly a trillion dollars. But it took this latest failure of truth to really get my attention. To be sure, there will be enough pork in the final healthcare package to make even Oscar Meyer jealous. But I can guarantee that there will be no Senator nor House member who will have ever read the final version.

We all know that health care is the main focus to the Obama agenda, while, it seems, national security is a minor annoyance, but come on, what in the world does the Pelosi, Reid, Obama product have to hide? Look, when you have a network who, second only to NBC, was as much as throwing palm branches down while the Messiah rode in on the back of Biden, begin questioning the integrity of the man’s promises, now you have a news story. To be fair, CNN could use a boost in the ratings, but Cafferty was no happy camper. Nor should he be, nor should any American be.

We all know campaign promises are usually only hopeful suggestions – “Read my lips, no new taxes” – but this outright lie is in fact an outright lie. One legitimately wonders if Obama ever planned on telecasting anything on C-Span. Then Pelosi said, “This is the most open process ever…” with a straight face. So I ask again, do these folks care even a little about what the American people think? Are we that stupid to them? This issue has carried elitism even farther than Hollywood could imagine.

I suspect the real reason the final debate on the health care plan remains secret is summed up in one word: truth. The Obama administration, the leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House simply do not want America to know the truth. They want it secret and they do not care.

All the while, Democrat after Democrat is running for the tall grass – shifting their registration to an ‘R”, or somehow coming to the conclusion it is time to retire. I believe this is the first time I have seen the rats leave the ship before the ship even left the harbor.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME! Or to comment directly you can find Rick Krug on Facebook at:

Government to INCREASE Credit Limit to Fund BAILOUT – Does That Make Sense?

September 27, 2008

McCain, Obama, Bush and other leading lawmakers are talking about a bailout of our credit markets – and with some exception all seem to feel that it is needed.  Perhaps!  But does it make sense to increase out debt ceiling in order to fund non-government bad debt?

According to CNN – “Rep. Barney Frank, a high-ranking Democrat, said he is convinced that by Sunday, lawmakers will reach a deal on the proposed $700 billion bailout of the nation’s financial system.”

The source said that when a plan is reached, Congress will not authorize a full $700 billion expenditure at once. Instead, it will be broken into a series of smaller transactions. The amount of the initial allotment continues to change, the source said.

The talks had stalled after House Republicans said they couldn’t go along with plans devised by the White House. Later, congressional leaders on both sides said they would send representatives to take part in negotiations.

Regardless of comments from private citizens, it appears that we, as a country, are hooked on debt and this bailout will happen.  The concept of paying for what you consume is dead.  The increase in the debt ceiling would make it such that (if it had to be paid back) each American would shoulder some $38,000 each to pay the debt.  Nothing is free and make no mistake that a bail out is nothing more than the Government propping up failed private business failures.  The whole process is much like maxing out your credit cards – having collection agents call – and solving the problem by getting a new card with a higher limit.  The problem isn’t solved…it’s only an illusion.

It’s not a Republican problem or a Democrat problem – the problem is we don’t have, as a nation, the will to be fiscally responsible and until we do so – we will continue to burden ourselves and our children with debt.

As a business ethics speaker I often say: Every choice has a consequence.  That is true for individuals, company’s and governments.  Debt must someday be paid or we will be owned by the lender.  Maybe someday our politicians will have the ethics to stop our policies that continue to increase our debt and begin to operate in a manner that respects those who are governed.

Your comments are welcome!