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The Leading Edge – Why I switched to Hillary Clinton

I ran into Chelsea Clinton today (1/12) at the Farmer’s Market at Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. In a sweet, sincere voice she said, “I hope you’ll support my mom.” I had been undecided between her mom, Barack Obama and John Edwards. To be honest I was leaning away from her mom toward the other candidates, but in a few moments of looking into Chelsea’s earnest eyes, it became clear to me why I have now switched to Hillary for President. It was the same earnestness I sensed in Hillary in New Hampshire.

I ran into Chelsea Clinton today (1/12) at the Farmer’s Market at Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade.

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In a sweet, sincere voice she said, “I hope you’ll support my mom.” I had been undecided between her mom, Barack Obama and John Edwards. To be honest I was leaning away from her mom toward the other candidates, but in a few moments of looking into Chelsea’s earnest eyes, it became clear to me why I have now switched to Hillary for President. It was the same earnestness I sensed in Hillary in New Hampshire.

Regarding Hillary vs. Barack Obama I thought, “On Inauguration Day would I want someone who could hit the ground ready to run this country or someone who would hit the ground needing to learn how to run this country?”

I thought of JFK who when elected, hit the ground needing to learn how to run this country and how not trusting his instincts led to missteps at the Bay of Pigs. It was only in the crucible of the Cuban Missile Crisis that JFK turned to his own “true North” and helped America dodge a bullet while we teetered on the brink of nuclear war. If JFK were alive today and were given the choice between a President ready to take control on inauguration day vs. one who needed to get up to speed, I believe that even he would choose the former, probably knowing that its not wise to leave so much to chance.

As much as I appreciate Obama’s freshness, newness and passion, I am not eager to put a President in the driver’s seat, who needs to get up to speed to do what’s best for this country. I also know first hand how much experience has helped me develop judgment in my professional and personal life and that there is no substitute for it. I think the best ticket — if egos could be put aside and replaced with collaboration to do what’s best for this country — would be Clinton-Obama ’08 and ’12 (where Barack can learn all he doesn’t know now to prepare him for the presidency) and then Obama-someone he can mentor ’16.

With regard to John Edwards who I met briefly at a focus group last year, as attractive and appealing a candidate is, I get the sense that he is more about winning (you can take the boy out of the litigator, but you can’t take the litigator out of the boy) and more transactional than transformational.

I felt that way about Hillary until her near tears moment in New Hampshire. Some will wonder whether that show of emotion was calculated and insincere. I do not agree. In that moment I saw her shedding the mantle of her handlers, possibly including even her husband, and letting an earnest desire to help our country push out from behind all the egos and politicking that had eclipsed it.

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With regard to the Republicans, I am inclined to select a Democrat, because I think since 9/11 and the Internet, America is sorely in need of a paradigm shift and to look at the world through vastly different eyes. Regardless how many of the Republican candidates may want to distance themselves from the present administration, none of them will be able to look at the world with sufficiently different eyes to see the world anew so that America can become who and what it needs to become to restore its luster in the world community.

About the author

Mark Goulston, M.D. is the Co-Fonder of Heartfelt Leadership a global community whose Mission of Daring to Care it dedicated to identifying, celebrating, developing and supporting heartfelt leaders who are as committed to making a difference as they are to making a profit.

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