Willing to back down

Willing to back down February 4, 2009

President Obama said he’ll pull back the “Buy American” provisions in the stimulus package after the European Union threatened a trade war, such as the one that proved so disastrous during the Great Depression. He also stepped away from nominating two tax evaders for administrative posts, including his good friend Tom Daschle for health czar.

That’s good. Being willing to back down when you are wrong is a good character trait. Of course, backing down when you are right but just encounter opposition is not so good. So far, the president seems to be standing up to the left wing of his own party. What he does when he encounters the Russians will be telling.

What’s the difference between being willing to back down and weakness? What’s the difference between standing on firm conviction and stubbornness? This is a lesson not just for presidents for all of us.

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