Monday, August 18, 2008

Senator Obama is popular in the military

Senator Obama is obtaining much more money from military sources than is John McCain. Many more dollars sent into campaign headquarters from personnel in the military are going to Senator Obama than to John McCain. This counters the usual Republican advantage of popularity in the military. The problem with using this ‘fact’ as an indicator of leadership is twofold:

1) Popularity can change overnight.
2) Popularity is not a good indicator of good leadership.

George McCellan was very popular and loved by his troops. He was a great organizer, but he loved his troops too much. This was a fatal weakness. George Patton could be a real asshole. Yet he was one of the best generals this country has ever produced. (Funny how they have the same first name)

Popularity among the troops does not mean you are an effective leader. I wish we had another way to really find out that would not involve a war with us killing people. Yet that is the most often proven way. Grant was not very successful at anything until the Civil War broke out. This is not uncommon. Some people are just gifted at warfare. It is a common human failure (Or success, depending upon how you look at it) to have a narrow skill set that is uncommonly strong in one area. Many times, this is offset by weakness in other areas. Historians consider Grant to be one of our worst presidents. The implication is that a good general does not necessarily make a good president. Popularity by itself does not tell us much, except that he/she is popular.

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