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We’ve been there before

Published: Friday, Nov. 2, 2012 12:20 p.m. CDT

To the editor:

We’ve been here before.

Once there was a man that blasted onto the scene in our town that promised change. He was selected to become the CEO of Maytag. For nearly two years, as he served under Len Hadley, he made his mark as a charismatic and dynamic individual.

He would fill the room with his presence. He was a great orator and motivator. He selected his words carefully. When he talked, people listened intently, for he spoke of change and a brighter future.

He came to our company with zero experience in our industry. He had no experience with our customers or our products. He didn’t understand us, as employees. Yet, he exuded confidence and an aura of leadership that seduced those of us who worked with him into believing what he said. We succumbed to his personality and salesmanship of his abilities and vision.

Others were seduced as well. The media went “gaga” over him. He appeared on several national business magazine covers as well as in the Wall Street Journal. He was hailed as a “groundbreaking” figure for the African American community.

When he finally took the reins of Maytag, things began to change, alright. On the very first day as CEO, he gathered his direct reports together and said, “Starting today, we are going to change the genetic code of this company.” It started to become clear to those of us that had been there many years that his vision was NOT what he said it was, but rather one that he kept hidden until the right moment. It was more important to him to make a name for himself than it was to make a profit and keep all of us working.

He launched many projects that cost millions of dollars, which cultivated our doubts about his corporate direction. One day a four wheel drive John Deere tractor appeared on a flatbed truck at plant 1. He was trying to put a washer and dryer in a tractor. Another project was to put a washer and dryer in a Ford van for soccer moms. (I drove the prototype.) He spent even more money trying to sell laundry equipment in grocery stores. Project after project wasted millions because he didn’t know our business. He didn’t know our customers. He didn’t know our products and he didn’t know Maytag workers. We Maytagers began to see a big problem arising.

He was a great talker and truly motivating, but didn’t have the knowledge and experience to lead our company. He was cunning and promised everything to everyone. In the end, it was clear he was not good for Maytag, our town and our future. But the damage had been done.

Now we are faced with the same type of situation, but the stakes are much higher.

A man has blasted onto the scene of our country. He served in the U.S. Senate for just two years and then declared he was running for President of the U.S. He is a very charismatic and dynamic individual.

He fills the room (or stadium) with his presence. He speaks of change and a bright future and people are enthralled….and some even faint.

He came with zero experience as a leader, business executive or negotiator. He had no experience with foreign affairs, the military or budgets. Yet, he exudes confidence and an aura of leadership that has seduced many. Many have succumbed to his personality and salesmanship of his abilities. Many are influenced by the facade, but don’t know the real goals he has kept hidden from view. He apologizes for America, bows to foreign leaders, ignores our allies, yet tells Russia he will have “more flexibility” after this election. He called on the Seals to take out Bin Laden, but when the Seals called on him for help in Benghazi, he ignored them and they died. Both he and his wife have stated that “capitalism has failed” and “there is no such thing as the American Dream.”

Yet, the media has gone “gaga” over him. Everything he does is reported in great detail. His face appears everywhere. He is hailed as a “groundbreaking” figure for the African American community. He is cunning and promises everything to everyone. Yet, he divides our country and pits one group against another.

Narcissism is characterized by an unusual coolness and composure, ability to take others for granted and exploits others for personal gain. It is an exaggerated sense of self-importance and has a need for attention and admiration from others. It is extreme self-absorption.

This was Ward. This is Obama. Obama will throw anyone under the bus (his pastor, Israel, the Navy Seals, his own Intelligence Community) to make himself appear flawless. He blames everything on someone or something else. In light of his comments to the Russians, are we next? Real leaders don’t do that.

I simply urge you to step back from the euphoria of Obama and look at the facts, his history and his vision. It is NOT what he has been telling us. Just like Ward, he will spring it on us when it is too late to stop it. History is full of this same scenario.

I would think that of all the small towns in the United States, Newton would be able to see through Obama better than any other.

A smooth talking, self-centered ideologue with no experience…yep, we’ve been here before.

Jim Jones

Newton

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