Monday, November 8, 2010

"If Meg wants to do that, I'll be glad to do that."

In the week before the California Governor's election, a campaign typified by particularly bruising negative attacks, both candidates for governor were appearing together and asked if they would take down their negative ads.

Jerry Brown, the former governor who was ultimately elected said, "If Meg wants to do that, I'll be glad to do that."

And Meg said, "I will take down any ads that could be even remotely construed as a personal attack, but I don't think we can take down ads that talk about where Gov. Brown stands on the issues."

So, who gets the gold star for clear communication today?

Sadly, not re-elected Jerry. While Meg got booed for her remark, Jerry was lauded with praise. But what did he really say? Look carefully.

He said nothing!

He played a classic move of political non-speak. He could have said, "I want to take down the negative ads." Or better yet, "I will take down all negative ads. Meg, will you agree to that?" But he didn't say that. he said, "If Meg wants to..."

My desire is for leaders to speak their wants clearly, recognizing that we don't always get what we want. I want leaders to propose solutions. Alternatives. I want leaders to seek clean agreements.

And, sometimes I don't get what I want.