Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pelosi Could Learn From Lyndon Johnson

Written By D.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked if Pelosi had failed the President;

“When asked whether Pelosi had failed the president by crafting a bill that that
Republicans saw as too partisan to support, Gibbs replied: "This bill went
through Congress, through its procedures. If people stop looking through the
partisan lens and through the economic lens, they'll see it was put together
with Democrats and Republicans and economists who supported us. Because it not
only puts money in people's pockets, but it also creates jobs."

Notice anything? There is no defense of Pelosi in that reply. In politics, if someone is asking that kind of question about you, then you usually have a problem.

It is tough defending defeat and make no mistake Pelosi’s failure to get a single GOP vote added to eleven Democrat defections on the Stimulus Package is a leadership defeat. I suspect that Pelosi is hiding her spectacular leadership failure behind that terse looking smile (the sharks are probably already circling.) It seems she is blinded by her partisanship. It also seems that every time Pelosi opens her mouth she polarizes people. Now that’s a special talent.

Powerful titles merely assign someone the ability to become a successful mover and shaker, what you do with that power really defines your success or failure.

Former President Lyndon Johnson, while serving in the House and later as Senate Majority Leader, understood power and how to use it better than most. He was a practical, pragmatic politician who knew how to compromise to get what he wanted.

On Page 15 of Robert A. Caro’s excellent book “The Years of Lyndon Johnson Means of Ascent” Caro provides some insight into Johnson’s leadership style;

“He ridiculed—intensely and harshly—politicians who fought for ideals and
Caro also quotes former Congresswoman Helen G. Douglas as saying this about
Johnson; “He made fun of those who refused to bend. . .”
What would Lyndon think of Pelosi’s leadership? I strongly suspect he wouldn’t think much of it. The Stimulus vote was a message about the need for political compromise and inclusion, but who knows if the message was received.

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