The president’s stories do matter to the nation
Barack Obama was reflecting recently on what he’s learned as president. At first, he told CBS, he thought “this job was just about getting the policy right.” But now he realizes that “the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”
Mitt Romney immediately lashed back: “Being president is not about telling stories. Being president is about leading, and President Obama has failed to lead.”
Romney was correct in one sense. Of course “getting the policy right” is a critical part of any presidency. But he was also profoundly wrong. Telling stories is an essential dimension of leadership. That’s how all presidents — or candidates, for that matter — excite enthusiasm and rally support, reveal their character and define their identity.
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