Monday, August 10, 2009

Leading from the rear

There are 45 Democrats in Congress that have served in the military, about a fifth of the 256 Democrats in Congress. About 2/3 of those Democrats with military experience were commissioned or non-commissioned officers, so it seems reasonable to conclude that military leadership is not a foreign concept amongst Congressional Democrats. Or is it?

From the Army manual on leadership, the following is considered a core leader competency-
(3) Leads by example: Leaders are role models for others. They are viewed as the example and must maintain standards and provide examples of effective behaviors. When Army leaders model the Army Values, they provide tangible evidence of desired behaviors and reinforce verbal guidance by demonstrating commitment and action.

Leading by example, also known in the Army as leading from the front, is one of the most basic concepts of leadership. I would never order one of my soldiers to do something that I myself was not willing to do.

But not one Democrat in Congress has stepped forward to submit themselves to the health care plan they are trying to pass. In fact, instead of leading from the front and demonstrating the benefits of Obamacare personally, they are doing just the opposite. An amendment offered by Rep Heller of Nevada would have mandated Congress to use the same health care plan that they feel will be so good for America. All 21 Democrats on the Ways and Means Committee voted no.

If the public option that is at the heart of Obamacare is such a good plan that will revolutionize health care in America, why hasn't even one Democrat stepped forward to lead by example? Not even one? How many town hall 'protesters' could be silenced simply by having the member of Congress step forward and say 'this plan is so good that I and my family will be using it'?

Critics on the left say that requiring Congress to sign up for Obamacare is contradictory in that Obamacare increases your health care options, rather than reducing them. But even if that were true (independent studies say it is not) Democrats in Congress could emphatically demonstrate that fears of euthanasia and rationed care are overblown by pledging to put themselves and their families on the public option.

In fact, Congress putting itself on Obamacare should be just the first step. If the public option health care plan can provide the care and reduce costs as Democrats say it will, then Congress should start by putting all 2 million federal employees on it. President Obama and Sec Geithner keep telling us how the mushrooming federal debt needs to be reigned in, and here is a chance to kill two birds with one stone. Demonstrate the soundness of the public option plan and save money at the same time by putting Congress and the federal government on it. If the SEIU, who represents many of those federal employees, is so adamant about passage of the bill, then certainly they wont refuse a chance to put the plan in action, right?

Leading from the front is a convenient concept when Democrats want to hold Republicans to account, but Democrats consistently fail to lead from the front themselves. Rep Rangel and Rep Murtha both supported a return to the military draft a few years ago, on the theory that Congress would be slower to send troops to war if their own children could also be sent. Conveniently, neither one has draft-age children. In 2006, soon to be Speaker of the House Pelosi promised to lead by example with earmark reform, 5 day workweeks and high standards of ethics. Congress the next year only managed one full work week, completely reversed themselves on earmarks, and the high ethical standards went into the freezer along with Rep Jefferson's bribe money. Former Vice President Al Gore warns us of the dangers of carbon emissions that lead to global warming, while the Gore residence is a model of everything he tells us not to do and he travels exclusively by private jet. President Obama campaigned that we can't leave our thermostats up past 72 degrees, but cranked up the heat in the Oval Office as soon as he inaugurated.

Clearly, if there was ever a time for Democrats to step up and lead from the front, this is it. Even a half dozen members of Congress stepping forward and volunteering to use Obamacare for their families would tamp down much of the over the top anger and hostility being seen around the country. That the Democrats are rejecting this simple solution is tells me how they really feel about Obamacare. Great for America, but not in my back yard.


DAV said...


I'm glad you posted some thoughts on this very important topic which has rightfully captured our nation's attention.

Just a quick question:
As a member of our Armed Forces, and thus a recipient of government Healthcare, will you be venturing into the private market, or stay with what the military provides?

Anonymous said...

DAV, if you're making the point I think you're trying to make, it is not germane to the argument.

Mr. Thul is not advocating an expansion in socialized medicine - Democrats in Congress are.

I've heard the moonbats claim that Tri-Care is socialized medicine many times in the past few months. This makes about as much sense as saying because military personal receive a paycheck, that the military itself is a from of socialism.

DAV said...

So you're a part of his compensation for for doing his job; all of his medical needs are taken care of, with no Insurance Company in between.

Sounds like a very good system our veterans and active duty enjoy.

Dave Thul said...

on your first point, I would like to see Congressman Walz, or ANY Democrat congressmen to step forward and volunteer to live on the public option that they are asking the rest of us to do. As far as not having to pay premiums, well, my bet is that he will be getting fair value.

On your second point, you need to do some research about the military and healthcare. Only active duty servicemembers receive free health care. Other than when I am deployed, the only free healthcare I will get is at retirement age, called Tricare for Life, which is a benefit I will have earned from 20 years in the National Guard.