Thirty years after Margaret Thatcher’s election as Britain’s prime minister, Michael Elliott reflects on three things the Iron Lady could teach President Obama. First, Elliott notes in Time, Thatcher “knew what she wanted,” using a “short set of criteria” to evaluate proposals. “Keeping things simple enabled her to maintain focus on what she really wanted to achieve.”
Second, Thatcher was “revolutionary in her intent,” but often highly pragmatic in practice. She carefully privatized state-held industries by appointing “soul mates” to run them, setting firm business aims, and not selling until they were ready. Finally, her “true genius” came from steadfast loyalty to the middle class, whom she aimed to show that hard work would bring future rewards. “Thatcher remained remarkably true to those she had set out to serve,” Elliott writes.