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Meacham on leadership in a crisis

Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis - Robert F. Kennedy, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.

This morning I read Jon Meacham's essay in the New York Times about political leadership in calamaitous times. As a work of criticism it's quite effective, as it manages to condemn the current president without mentioning his name once.


It's not as though we have to look to the past to find examples of how to do it right. There are plenty of officeholders today whose response to our pandemic demonstrates what it takes to manage a crisis. Even in the United States there are numerous examples of state and local leaders who are doing it right, even at times against partisan headwinds. It brings to mind Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.'s incredibly perceptive observation about Franklin Roosevelt, which is that his outstanding quality was his first-class temperament. Our current situation is helping me to appreciate just how important a quality that is in a crisis, especially with the counter example we currently have on display.