Elena Kagan, Politics and the Supreme Court

Elena is very good at reading the lay of the land, at having a
sense of who is where on what issue and what the art of the possible
might be, who can be influenced, who cannot.  In that sense of being
political, she is extremely gifted. She’s very purposeful.

–Robert Mnookin, Harvard Law School

I have no brief for any of the president’s supposed
candidates for the Supreme Court, other than to suggest that another
woman who understands politics and the needs of the community might just
be useful.

But Mnookin’s comment was so chock full of insight about
the nature of real politics, the classical sense of the possible, that I
wanted to put it up.

Unlike many, I recognized early on in my career that my
real success would require an astuteness at politics.  I did not
discover that many people thought politics “dirty” until more than ten
years into adulthood.  It was just necessary to achieve one’s
objectives.  That was that.  Besides, my father was an exceptionally
able horse trader and I was always amazed by those abilities.

Taking political action without understanding the lay of
the land is wasted effort.  And so the truly astute businessperson who
wants to get ahead will learn to read and make sense of the relevant
people regarding any issue. 

Wow! What a superb acknowledgement of the real issues of
organizational politics.

Link to original post

Leave a Reply