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State of California (Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra Counties) November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter


By Ken Cooley

Candidate for State Senator; District 1

This information is provided by the candidate
California's Legislature was once the nations's best. Today its weakness, widely admitted, gravely burdens the economy, hampering our collective ability to recover and renew job creation. This paper expresses my view of how to exercise political leadership. Application of the ideas here explains my public and career success, and also why I am a candidate in this race.
DATE: October 10, 2010

TO: Community Leaders and Friends

FROM: Mayor Ken Cooley, City of Rancho Cordova

RE: Political Leadership Dynamics ===========================================================

Successful political strategy demands careful planning, a willingness to commit, skilled human relations, and a determination to "contend for your vision". You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.

Through commitment, leaders create visibility for their strategy and buy time during which the soundness of their plans can manifest itself. Where events confirming the strategy are seen, others not yet committed to the enterprise will confront in a more intense, personal way the importance of their own commitment. Leaders must recognize this dynamic and seek to foment it constructively. If divisive recriminations take hold when key supporters don't emerge as expected, political strategies invariably fail.

Winning strategies build internal strength, from internal strength. To help skeptics or the unsure decide to commit, leaders must exhibit awareness of the pitfalls, unfaltering confidence in their plan, and highly visible engagements that alert bystanders to the shocking realization that victory may just be possible. Strategizing such engagements as a means to focus the attention of bystanders and "buck up" their confidence is a critical task for leaders once their own commitment decision has been made. Respect for colleagues who don't yet share the leader's confidence and a clear "open door" must always be communicated to bystanders seeking to work through the reasons for their own reluctance.

Leadership in any domain requires considerable courage. Here are some thoughts on that subject.

  • * * * * * * * *

There comes a moment when you have to stop revving up the car and put it into gear.
- David Mahoney

Do not wait for ideal circumstances; they will never come; nor for the best opportunities.
- Janet Erskine Stuart

Commanders should be counseled, chiefly, by persons of known talent, by those who have made an art of war their particular study, and whose knowledge is derived from experience; from those who are present at the scene of action, who see the country, who see the enemy, who see the advantages that occasions offer, and who, like people embarked in the same ship, are sharers of the danger.
- Lucius Aemilius Paulus Roman consul who led victorious campaign against the Macedonians

Transform the war into an offense on your part as soon as the occasion presents itself. All your maneuvers must lead toward this end.
- Frederick the Great

If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in.
- Sun Tzu

Be patiently aggressive.
- Edsel B. Ford II

Keeping a little a head of conditions is one of the secrets of business; the trailer seldom goes far.
- Charles M. Schwab

What convinces is conviction. Believe in the argument you're advancing. If you don't, you're as good as dead. The other person will sense that something isn't there, and no chain of reasoning, no matter how logical or elegant or brilliant, will win your case for you.
- Lyndon B. Johnson

No captain can do very wrong if he places his ship alongside that of the enemy.
- Admiral Horatio Nelson

[Nelson's counsel] guided me time and time again. On the eve of the critical battle of Santa Cruz, in which Japanese ships outnumbered ours more than two to one, I sent my task force commanders this dispatch: ATTACK REPEAT ATTACK. They did attack, heroically, and when the battle was done, the enemy had turned away.

All problems, personal, national, or combat, become smaller if you don't dodge them but confront them. Touch a thistle timidly and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble. Carry the battle to the enemy! Lay your ship alongside his!
- Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey

The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
- Attributed to Goethe

Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity.
- Karl von Clausewitz

If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good.
- Thomas J. Watson Jr.

A man has to live and sleep with his business if he wants to make a go of it. You have to take it home with you at night, so you can lie there in the darkness and figure out what you can do to improve it. In fact, you have to become sort of a "nut" about it, so that you become so enthused that you will bore your friends talking about it. You have to be a one-man crusade.
- George J. Mecherle

Grasp the possibility that a truly tough and worthy competitor knows not only how to fight but also when to quit.
- Jeffrey Z. Rubin

Always go before your enemies with confidence, otherwise our apparent uneasiness inspires them with greater boldness.
- Napoleon I

Have enough confidence in yourself to let the other fellow take some risk.
- G.E. Corporation

Because a thing seems difficult for you, do not think it impossible for anyone to accomplish.
- Marcus Aurelius

A man is to go about his business as if he had not a friend in the world to help him in it.
- Lord Halifax

Never say die.
- Charles Dickens

The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Never go backward. Attempt, and do it with all your might. Determination is power.
- Charles Simmons

One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at any moment.... If it doesn't turn out right, we can modify it as we go along.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

We must all consult doctors, lawyers, bankers and other specialists to help us, but view experts with a jaundiced eye. Trust your own knowledge and instincts. When something sounds fishy, ask "Says Who", "Where is it written?" Is the expert there to help you -- or to attend to a bigger client, to please a boss, to get personal visibility or to win a better job? Never assume that so-called professionalism will protect you.
- David Mahoney

Experts should be on tap but never on top.
- Winston Churchill

The surest way not to fail is to determine to succeed.
- Richard Brinsley Sheridan

It's necessary not to fear the prospect of failure but to be determined not to fail.
- Jimmy Carter

Here is the prime condition of success: Concentrate your energy, thought and capital exclusively upon the business in which you are engaged. Having begun on one line, resolve to fight it out on that line, to lead in it, adopt every improvement, have the best machinery, and to know the most about it.
- Andrew Carnegie

To be successful in using power you have to have a sense of power. I would define that as a gut-feel of being able to predict with some degree of certainty how people will react in certain situations, so you can predict when there is going to be trouble over something.
- W. Michael Blumenthal

I think I had a flair for [politics] but natural feelings are never enough. You've got to marry those natural feelings with really hard work -- but the hard work comes more easily when you are doing things you want to do.
- Margaret Thatcher

Let me ... remind you that it is only by working with an energy which is almost superhuman and which looks to uninterested spectators like insanity that we can accomplish anything worth the achievement. Work is the keystone of a perfect life. Work and trust in God.
- Woodrow Wilson

Do not expect the success that comes from easy accomplishment and ready recognition. What will justify the effort if all there is before you is defeat and renewed struggle? You must not learn to expect success in order to justify your efforts. You must learn to need only to think the effort necessary, whatever the outcome. Great things are not accomplished by the shouters but by the workers. But to learn to work -- that is a hard task indeed.
- Jacob Neusner

Nurture your mind with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes.
- Benjamin Disraeli

The characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just God, in His own good time, will give us the rightful result.
- Abraham Lincoln

Don't try to innovate for the future. Innovate for the present!
- Peter F. Drucker

If you want to be a leader of the people, you must learn to watch events.
- Benjamin Disraeli

In all forms of warfare, the loser is beaten in spirit before he is beaten in fact. Never let respect become intimidation.
- David J. Rogers

When there's a collective fear, one person can bring confidence to the group. If you do things with a question mark, everyone is going to have a question mark. The role of the leader is not to challenge people, but to get them to challenge themselves.
- Michel Roux

Would you persuade, speak of interest, not reason.
- Benjamin Franklin

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