Meridian Star

Columns

December 10, 2012

Pleaders and plodders dominate public leadership

MERIDIAN — In tough times we expect strong leadership from public officials. These days our officials come from one of three types:  leaders, pleaders, and plodders.

    Leaders are those who get things done. We still see them at the local and state levels, but they are becoming extinct at the national level.

    Pleaders are those able…and insistently willing … to tell us what to do, why to do it, and how to do it, but unable to get it done. They dominate the political scene these days, particularly Washington.

    Plodders are those who hold leadership positions but depend on leaders and pleaders for marching orders. Most of Congress now seems to fit this category.

    We are prompted by the media to remember former leaders who won through opposing forces to get important things done in tough times – House Speaker Tip O’Neill and President Ronald Reagan; House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton. They even use the movie “Lincoln” to contrast current officials as pleaders who talk versus Abe Lincoln as a leader who got difficult things done.

    How is it that our national public officials have devolved into mere caricatures of real leaders?

    How is it that so many who were highly effective leaders as governors, businessmen, legislators, etc., devolve into pleaders, or worse, plodders, when they get to Washington?

    My perspective is that this results from the ever-growing influence of big-money controlled, special interest driven, partisan politics.

    In his day, the late Congressman G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery, a conservative Democrat, would occasionally step across the aisle to vote with Republicans. So, too, did the late Senator John Stennis. Such independence today is not only frowned upon, but punished. The Republican House “steering committee” just ousted four Congressmen from leadership positions for failing to fall in line.

    Yes, today’s congressmen, senators, and presidents are expected to march in lockstep behind positions determined by party leadership. These party positions are heavily influenced by the never-ending efforts to raise money and posture candidates and issues for future elections. That means aligning positions to those preferred by special interests and big money. How else do conservative tax enemy Grover Norquist and liberal social spending ally MoveOn.Org have such influence?

    Real leaders forge alliances, broker deals, and make concessions to win through. Today’s potential leaders find themselves shackled to their party’s apparatus and discouraged to reach across the aisle to win through.  Thus, the Gang of Eight in the Senate, composed of independent senators from both parties, has little traction with Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid or Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

    Inexcusably, the coercive system they permit to operate works to diminish potential leaders to pleaders or plodders.

    Can none from the Capitol or White House break free and win through?

 

    Bill Crawford (crawfolk@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.

1
Text Only
Columns
Biz Marquee
New Today
Poll

People are carrying less credit card debt in the wake of the Great Recession. Have you changed your credit card use?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide