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Politics & Current Affairs

Horse Whispering for Political Leaders 101

This is a column that starts out being about horse whispering and ends up being about leadership and politics. Move forward when there’s acceptance, pull back when spooked…

What’s the Latest Development?

Matthew Dowd spends a weekend learning about horse-whispering and finds many parallels for political leadership. “I learned to recognize signs of what a horse is feeling, whether it’s fear or acceptance. …You learn that pushing or beg­ging when the horse doesn’t understand or doesn’t want to move only makes matters worse. You figure out quickly that a 180-pound person can’t make a 1,300-pound horse do what it doesn’t want to do unless you resort to tactics that in the end hurt the animal and lower yourself—and put you further behind your intention.”

What’s the Big Idea?

“As leaders push proposals and address the federal budget and deficits, they should be more observant of the country’s reaction. They should move forward when there is acceptance and pull back a bit when the country gets spooked and starts kicking. Each step along the way would be a process of building trust and recognizing signs indicating where America is emotionally, and then proceeding with that knowledge and understanding.”


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