Fact Check

Lee Iacocca - Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

E-mail reproduces excerpt from Lee Iacocca's 'Where Have All the Leaders Gone?'

Published Apr 16, 2007

Claim:
An excerpt reproduces passages from Lee Iacocca's "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?"
What's True

An excerpt reproduces passages based on Lee Iacocca's book "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?"

What's False

Portions of the excerpt have since been altered to remove Iacocca's criticisms of Republicans/conservatives and to insert denigrative passages about Democrats/liberals that were not written by Lee Iacocca.

The above-quoted editorial, offering a scathing condemnation of the Bush administration and condemning a lack of strong leadership in the U.S. government, hit our inbox mid-April 2007, attributed to then-82-year-old businessman Lee Iacocca (best known for his tenure in the automotive business as the head of Ford and then Chrysler).

The attribution was correct, and the timing was no coincidence, as the text was an excerpt from the opening of Iacocca's just-released book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone?, written with Catherine Whitney and published by Scribner.

However, e-mailed versions of this excerpt have since been altered to remove Iacocca's criticisms of Republicans/conservatives and to insert denigrative passages about Democrats/liberals that were not written by Lee Iacocca and were not part of the original work. For example, variants that circulated a month before the 2008 presidential election included the following non-Iacocca passages referencing Democratic nominee Barack Obama:

These are times that cry out for leadership and we are getting ready to put the most Liberal Senator in the U. S. Senate in as our next President because we want to be fair and elect someone just because of his race. We don't have time to be fair, we need a strong leader.


It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down. George Bush, Dick Chaney and who it this Bozo coming up next? One of the most Liberal Idiots in the U.S. Senate and he is talking about disarming America. I can't believe the American people are seeing what he is about to do to this country. May God have mercy on us all.

Another common variant includes the same types of changes throughout. The bolded passages below indicate where additions or alterations have been made to the original text:

Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage with this so called president? We should be screaming bloody murder! We've got a gang of tax cheating clueless leftists trying to steer our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even run a ridiculous cash-for-clunkers program without losing $26 billion of the taxpayers' money, much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'trust me the economy is getting better.'Better? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned, 'Titanic.' I'll give you a sound bite: 'Throw all the Democrats out along with Obama!'

The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs.. While we're fiddling in Afghanistan, Iran is completing their nuclear bombs and missiles and nobody seems to know what to do. And the liberal press is waving 'pom-poms' instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of the 'America' my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you?

Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It's easy to sit there with thumb up your butt and talk theory. Or send someone else's kids off to war when you've never seen a battlefield yourself. It's another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

Gas prices are going to skyrocked again, and nobody in power has a lucid plan to open drilling to solve the problem. This country has the largest oil reserves in the WORLD, and we cannot drill for it because the politicians have been bought by the flea-hugging environmentalists.

Our schools are in a complete disaster because of the teachers union.

Our borders are like sieves and they want to give all illegals amnesty and free healthcare.

The middle class is being squeezed to death every day.

Everyone's hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping the government will make it better for them. Now, that's just crazy. Deal with life.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when 'The Big Three' referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and more important, look what Obama did about it!

I have news for the Chicago gangsters in Congress. We didn't elect you to turn this country into a losing European Socialist state. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on NBC or CNN news will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don't you guys show some spine for a change?

Sources

Iacocca, Lee and Catherine Whitney.   Where Have All the Leaders Gone?   New York: Scribner, 2007.   ISBN 1-416-53247-1.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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