"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Robert Gates / Duty

I am yet to really sit down and read former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new book "Duty," but I have been reading excepts over the last several days.  I am not enamored with his insider criticism of a seated President, but then again I am old school.  However, I still have a great deal of respect for Secretary Gates as this time last year I had the opportunity to hear him speak and I was thoroughly impressed.

He is a man of character and conviction; he served two US Presidents as Secretary of Defense, one very right of center (Bush 2) and one very left of center (Obama) and did so extremely well.  Robert Gates is very well respected and was committed to the men and women serving in our armed forces.  His love and admiration for them came through repeatedly throughout his speech.  

What I have found surprising in his book is his extreme criticism of Congress.  He labels them as incompetent, uncivil, petty, sanctimonious, hypocritical and dysfunctional.  He says "they routinely subordinate the national interest to their own." Now, none of this is a surprise, except maybe to the members of Congress.  Even their staff recognizes their dysfunction.  I was at a presentation last week when a senior Congressional aide said, "after all, we talking about Congress, so our expectations have to be very low." 

So, if everybody sees it, why isn't anything being done about it?  When Robert Gates says that Congress is pretty much a national disgrace, it's a great start, but more needs to be done.  My solution, we need a term-limits initiative to start immediately.  Many members of Congress get far too comfortable with a prolonged stint and forget why they were elected in the first place.  I will take you back to my first meeting with Congressman Bartlett when he was running on a term-limit platform back in 1992.  He was elected and began serving in 1993.  He left Congress last year after 20 years.  I rest my case.....far too comfortable.

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