When Division Heads Act Like GOP Presidential Hopefuls

When Division Heads Act
Like GOP Presidential Hopefuls


Leonard Zwelling

         One of the things that struck me as unusual about
Washington, DC and Capitol Hill in particular was the ability of sworn
political enemies to become best friends forever in a heartbeat. Today we are
throwing bombs across the aisle. Tomorrow we are co-sponsoring legislation.
There were no principles that could trump (pun, intended) the ability of the
members of Congress to shift their allegiances on a dime.

         This was on full display Thursday evening when towards the
end of the latest GOP food fight called a “debate” the three trailing “losers,”
Cruz, Rubio and Kasich, all members or ex-members of Congress, each pledged
allegiance to supporting the nominee of the party even if it was Donald J.
Trump, a man they have all described in so many words as being unfit for the
office. How much should be believe they hold the country in such high regard and are willing to put the country first, if
they are willing to put their names toward endorsing an unfit President to lead
that country out of party loyalty? Have they no shame?  

at least Mitt Romney took a principled stand and said he would vote for neither
Trump nor Mrs. Clinton during an interview with Mark Halperin:


         There comes a time when each individual, especially those in
positions of power, are faced with a choice. They either can support the
leadership and the direction that leadership is taking the organization of
which they are a part, or the individual can say this is against my principles
and just plain wrong, NO!

         Cyrus Vance quit after Jimmy Carter’s failed attempt to free
the Iranian hostages as Mr. Vance had objected to this strategic and military nonsense when he was the
sitting Secretary of State in Carter’s Cabinet.

Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus resigned from their leadership roles
in the Department of Justice rather than participate in the firing of Watergate
Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox when ordered to can Cox by President Nixon. (Robert
Bork did it and the Democrats never forgot).

long as the principled stand taken is accompanied by resignation and the clear
declaration that this principled stance precludes the individual’s continued inclusion in
the corrupt administration, the people doing the quitting are usually heroes.

2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers thus far in
the Republican primaries make it clear they believe Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a
fraud and a disaster waiting to happen, but when challenged to live by these
principles, they all backed away and said they would bow to the golden-maned Lyin’ King should he
be so crowned in Cleveland. That is crazy. And so is the stance taken by the
current Division Heads at MD Anderson.

Division Heads have always had the power to stop the President of MD Anderson
in his tracks. This is also true of Vice Presidents of MD Anderson. When a
previous VP threatened to eliminate the divisions it was he who was removed
when the then Division Heads of Medicine and Surgery pushed back. Now, when
they push back, they get fired as happened with the Division Heads of Surgery
and Pediatrics who together constituted the only real innovative sarcoma
excellence at Anderson. One was leading a huge SPORE grant. The other had
developed the only drug to alter the natural history of osteosarcoma in 30
years. But at least both of these leaders can hold their heads up high. They
took bullets for the team in insisting on excellence despite the corrupt
behavior of Dr. DePinho and his used car lot of FORDs.

you won’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. If the current
Division Heads encourage the Moon Shot lunacy, even if just by passive
acquiescence, they are neither principled nor heroes. When billions have been
spent with nothing to show for the money it will be too late to say “I told you

I am going to assume that these ethical Division Heads agree with the course of
action being taken by the Anderson leadership in both research and clinical
care. They can have full credit if this all works out. But they must assume
blame if it does not for they had the power to head this off.

know what they say. You gotta believe in something. I believe I will have
another beer.

say for me that the Heads of the clinical endeavors hold all the cards. Because
of their great power (they oversee the generation of about 85% of Anderson’s
revenue), they also have great responsibility. If the Moon Shot fails, they
bear the brunt of the blame.


understand the concept of order and obedience in an organization. I just never
thought much of it. Like Lewis Black I have trouble with authority. The last
guys who were “just following orders” did some really bad stuff. And many of
them WERE held accountable. That will never be me and it should never be you.

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