Friday, August 08, 2008

Wise words from Keating... about thinking

From The 7.30 Report Wednesday:

"You can't micro manage a thing like the Commonwealth. And I noticed the other day that the US presidential candidate Obama was overheard with a microphone on with the British Opposition Leader saying in these jobs you must have time to think and I used to say that to that Gary Gray when he was secretary of the Labor Party, he thought we should have been out all the time talking.

I mean John Howard turned the prime ministership into something like a state police minister. He was at the scene of every crime, twice a day on radio. The guy did no thinking. When a country has a leader that does not think, think then that country starts to move back.

KERRY OBRIEN: You would have to form the impression that Kevin Rudd is not giving him that much time to think either?

PAUL KEATING: Well frenetic activity in the end suiting journos, running at the behest of little press secretaries does not pay off.

Here is the Obama and the British Opposition Leader David Cameron actually said when they thought no-one was listening...

CAMERON: You should be on the beach. You need a break. Well, you need to be able to keep your head together.

OBAMA: You've got to refresh yourself.

CAMERON: Do you have a break at all?

OBAMA: I haven't. I am going to take a week in August. But I agree with you that somebody, somebody who had worked in the White House who - not Clinton himself, but somebody who had been close to the process - said that, should we be successful, that actually the most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you're doing is thinking. And the biggest mistake that a lot of these folks make is just feeling as if you have to be ...

CAMERON: These guys just chalk your diary up.

OBAMA: Right. ... In 15 minute increments and ...

CAMERON: We call it the dentist waiting room. You have to scrap that because you've got to have time.

OBAMA: And, well, and you start making mistakes or you lose the big picture. Or you lose a sense of, I think you lose a feel ...

CAMERON: Your feeling. And that is exactly what politics is all about. The judgment you bring to make decisions.

OBAMA: That's exactly right. And the truth is that we've got a bunch of smart people, I think, who know 10 times more than we do about the specifics of the topics. And so if what you're trying to do is micromanage and solve everything then you end up being a dilettante, but you have to have enough knowledge to make good judgments about the choices that are presented to you.