Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Promise only What You Can Deliver 

Tonight's SOTU speech by President Obama may or may not improve his ratings. Americans are beginning to see that scripted rhetoric, while well-delivered, does not mean follow through. Unfortunately for most Americans, what Obama promised, he had little clue as to how to implement. Does this mean I want a president to be able to dictate his wishes on demand? Absolutely not but it does mean something else: Words matter; actions matter.

Years ago I was assigned to a teacher who was not enamored with getting a rookie. She was one of those really good instructors who got the "problem kids because she could handle them" and was an excellent mentor. Within two days of my arrival, she pointed her finger at me and stated, "Don't you ever say what you can't deliver."

Some of the best advice I ever got. Obama and his handlers should have considered the delivery aspects of his campaign speeches that "meant anything you wanted." Then again, if your playground is Chicago and you own all the toys, maybe you never learned that words mean something and that not delivering on your word sooner or later catches up with you.

For the sake of the US, I hope Obama wakes up but he has a long way to go and I'm not sure if his mentors know how to help him.