At washingtonpost.com, Steve Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti ask whether or not Arizona’s SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law is an example of “leading up.” It’s their On Leadership question in their post, Thank you, Arizona?
Pearlstein and Narisetti write that “No matter what you may think about the wisdom or legality of Arizona’s immigration law, its proponents have succeeded in putting immigration enforcement back at the top of the national political agenda.
Comparing Mel’s rants.
Thinking about it a bit, I can’t help comparing their premise based on a state legislature’s specious leadership on a complex illegal immigration problem, to the fallout from actor/director Mel Gibson’s alleged tape-recorded rants and threats at his estranged wife Oksana Grigorieva.
USATODAY.com, for example, quotes Erin Matson of the National Organization for Women as saying, “I’m hopeful that the airing of these terrible tapes will ignite a new conversation about domestic violence in this country, because what we’re looking at is not a personal or private issue but a public health issue.”
Admittedly, Pearlstein and Narisetti reframe the question of “leading up” as “providing leadership on an issue where you have responsibility without authority?”
Juxtaposing a body politic’s meltdown with an actor’s career evisceration is no more implausible than searching for a breath mint inside a mackerel. But by any other definition, “leading up” means showing the way by leading in advance and not by asserting unconstitutional responsibilities.
Is Mel “leading up“? How about Rush?
With Mel Gibson’s legal and career problems mounting, has he now accomplished through his supposed ugly tape-recordings the placement of domestic violence “back at the top of the national political agenda“? Is Mel “leading up“then?
Seems some of us have to constantly look for acrimonious public examples upon which to base calls for countrywide conversations on a given hot-button topic. So with the death of Yankee owner George Steinbrenner Tuesday and political radio entertainer Rush Limbaugh’s racially-charged remarks thereafter, there’ll doubtless be predictable calls for a conversation ‘about race in this country.’ Rush is quoted in Media Matters for America, saying of Steinbrenner, “That cracker made a lot of African American millionaires. And at the same time he fired a bunch of white guys.” Will Rush be “leading up” on race?
Ascribing ‘leadership’ to hare-brained broadcast statements or to egregious domestic misconduct is as delusive as imputing ‘leadership’ to a state supposedly securing its border by scaring people. But then maybe all these instances are meant only as more of those “Teachable Moments”?
So are Mel and Rush “leading up“? Just asking.
Photo Credits: “Untitled,” by prathap ramamurthy rprathap at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution;”Mackerel,” by Jeremy Keith at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution; “Rush Limbaugh,” by DonkeyHotey at Flickr via Creative Commons-license requiring attribution.