John McCain and Self Awareness

As the credit crisis takes a turn and people ask (not for the first time!) if we’ve seen the worst, I was contemplating who to write about for the next leadership post. Henry Paulson, Gordon Brown and Richard Branson all came to mind. Rather than take a shot in the dark and choose someone on a whim, I thought it would be interesting to see what Google’s blog search would suggest if I searched for ‘leader’[1]. The first result, rather intriguingly turned out to be John McCain, presidential candidate for the 44th President of the United States.

As always, we are taking the top 10 posts from Google blog search to research the post.

A breakdown of the 10 articles from Google blog search and their respective quadrants.

Self Awareness Relationships
4 1
Culture Business and Social Systems
3 2

Given the impending election, much of the commentary is focused on the minutiae of the final few weeks campaigning, McCain’s manoeuvrings as a politician and commentary on day to day events. While the outcome of the vote is unknown,  the polls currently show Obama holding a steady and significant lead. Against this backdrop, the spread of coverage is similar to that of our piece on Sarah Palin, the only difference being Culture was 2 and Systems was 3.

While we would stick to our earlier thoughts that regardless of the outcome for McCain, the justifications and hindsight shown after the event will take on a very similar tone to those we mentioned when talking about Palin.

We’ve repeated that table below.

Self Awareness Relationships
His personality How he works with people, journalists and other ‘players’
Culture Business and Social Systems
His values, moral compass and cultural references Political stance, campaign execution, efficiency of operations

Over and above the similarities with Palin, it is interesting to explore the self awareness column, if only because it is where McCain scores highest. We’ve expanded on self awarness before[2] and how its fractal qualities overlap well with developmental approaches such as Maslow and Graves for example. Given that both theories suggest that higher self awareness and self realisation is something to aspire to, it is interesting to read the extracts from the blog posts;

McCain is afraid to stand up to the ugliness and hate that his own campaign is whipping up, terrified that he’ll alienate the only group still firmly in his Palin’s corner

[McCain] You’ve just been compelled to downplay your attempts to whip up hate and hysteria, either because they clearly aren’t working or because you are uncomfortable with the ugly stain on the body politic that will be your lasting legacy

Mark Salter, wrote [McCain's] memoir, Faith of My Fathers, and in the process hatched the superhero he has been pretending to be throughout his campaign for the presidency

Many are now looking to Senator McCain to see if he can provide strong leadership, sensible policies and commit to the accountability we are seeking. For those of you raising your voices up, it looks like John McCain heard you

Whatever the outcome of the US election, people’s perceptions and assessment of McCain’s self awareness and his personality raises as many questions as answers. We await the outcome and post election rationale with interest…

The remainder of the note details each of the 10 articles and relevant extracts.

Self Awareness

Daily Kos

John McCain continues with his cowardly refusal to stand up to hate… McCain is afraid to stand up to the ugliness and hate that his own campaign is whipping up, terrified that he’ll alienate the only group still firmly in his Palin’s corner. Which brings us to a poster that was proudly waved during his speech earlier today.

Jafapete’s Weblog

Time for a little reality check, Senator. After a week of desperate-looking mud slinging that made even your own people gag, your opponent is further ahead than at any point in the campaign. More reality… You’ve just been compelled to downplay your attempts to whip up hate and hysteria, either because they clearly aren’t working or because you are uncomfortable with the ugly stain on the body politic that will be your lasting legacy. Or both.

The Observer

David Kirkpatrick has a piece in The New York Times today about the impact John McCain’s five books have had on his self-image and political identity. The McCain we know today, Mr. Kirkpatrick writes, is one that came into existence around 1999, when he and his longtime speechwriter, Mark Salter, wrote his memoir, Faith of My Fathers, and in the process hatched the superhero he has been pretending to be throughout his campaign for the presidency.

No Quarter

We not only want solutions. We want retribution. And many are now looking to Senator McCain to see if he can provide strong leadership, sensible policies and commit to the accountability we are seeking. For those of you raising your voices up, it looks like John McCain heard you.

Relationships

Zap2it.com

Less than a month after abruptly canceling on the late night host, Republican Presidential nominee Sen. John McCain is ready to make nice with David Letterman. McCain will visit “Late Show with David Letterman” on Thursday, Oct. 16. He’ll be joined by musical guest Ne-Yo, who hasn’t been endorsed by either major political party. Expect plenty of apologies from the Arizona Senator, who has become a Letterman whipping boy since bailing on a Sept. 24 appearance.

Systems

The Moderate Voice

And so the ever impetuous McCain ignored the tsunami of polls showing that the biggest reason that he is trailing Obama so badly is that the negative campaigning of he and Palin have blown up in their faces. This, of course, is because voters are deeply worried about their own well being and don’t give a hoot about whether Obama knew a one-time radical 10 years ago or supported a controversial community organizing group that McCain himself has embraced.

Forbes

Senator McCain was unremarkable not only in his lack of expertise on the subject of small business, but in the complete dearth of new ideas he presented. At one point in the roundtable, the chief of a precision machine shop said he was having trouble finding qualified machinists. McCain threw out a tired line: government subsidies for students to attend trade school. When the shop owner respectfully pointed out the systemic nature of the problem—that nobody in this country wants to go to trade school anymore—McCain paused for a moment, then simply reiterated his first suggestion before moving on to the next question.

Culture

The Atlantic

Here he is, on Feb. 20, 2006, telling immigration rights activists at a rally in Miami  that they “are what makes America special.” ACORN co-sponsored the rally, and its volunteers surround McCain, and while there’s no evidence that McCain ever formally teamed with the group, the video serves as a reminder that he did not mind being associated with them when the politics of the moment were different.

MOMcrats

John McCain was the keynote speaker at a pro-immigration reform rally sponsored by ACORN in 2006. Oh yes, he was. Now, why would a fine, upstanding Senator like John McCain involve himself with a group of, ahem, community organizers like ACORN?

Wiz Bang Blue

Both John McCain and Sarah Palin have clear ties to the far right John Birch Society organization. McCain used to attend John Birch Society meetings in the Phoenix, Arizona area and is well known to local John Birch Society members in that area’s chapter… With their common connections to the John Birch Society, both John McCain and Sarah Palin are exactly the same extremist mindset of this organization which has a history of making up such misleading conspiracy attacks on many moderate political figures ever since it was started by political extremist founder Robert Welch in the 1950’s at the height of “Red” scare paranoia.

Footnotes

[1] I suspect the longevity of Google’s search results leaves a lot to be desired. Given the huge number of servers google run and the nature of the internet, I suspect results will change from day to day or even more frequently. While this isn’t a surprise, it does illustrate the fluid and ever changing nature of the internet.

[2] See a New Model of Leadership and in particular the appendix for more information.

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