Many people I have known over the years seem to believe that what happens in Washington, DC has no effect on their lives. DC is so far removed from them by distance, by thought, and by reality. Our politicians really do live in a bubble, and rarely step outside that bubble, even when in their home districts, to know the lives of most of us. If we sat and examined their lives, I would deign to say most politicians came from middle class or the wealthy class, prior to being elected. To be sure, there are exceptions as there always are, but to what extent.
Because they come from families of means, they, regardless of political spectrum, really can’t empathize with those who have nothing. I find it especially egregious when one of the exceptions falls into the trap of Washington. They conveniently, as its called in my neck of the woods, forget where they come from and the hardships of the people around whom they grew up.
So what does the above have to do with effective leadership. A good leader needs to at least acknowledge the existence of those in need, and recognize what needs to be done. The effective leader then works to figure out, and to make, what needs to get done, get done. They don’t hide behind procedural limitations, they work to find out how to stay within the law, or to change the rules that exist to hinder democracy.
As much as I dislike and disdain the man because of how he works to subvert democracy and hurt people in need, Mitch McConnell is a type of effective leader. He does nothing for the common good or to improve our country, it is all about himself—how to get richer and how to amass more power. However, he does get things done. By hindering any legislation to pass through the Senate, he is getting something done. His caucus stands behind him and does nothing for which he has not already given approval, even when it appears he hasn’t.
Chuck Schumer on the other hand is a very ineffective leader. Almost nothing has gotten passed in the Senate. He doesn’t have a handle on his caucus. His caucus can be outspoken, ask pertinent questions, even push back, but in the end, he should be able to get them to vote for legislation that helps and lifts us all. Because Schumer doesn’t know how to talk to the masses in a way they can understand, doesn’t know how to tell an effective engaging story to the press, doesn’t tell it like it is about obstructionist (and some seditious) Senate members, and doesn’t know how to reach all of his caucus, nothing of major consequence with long-lasting positive benefits has passed the Senate. We don’t have Build Back Better. We don’t have Medicare for all, or even at a lower age of eligibility. Most importantly, we don’t have any voter rights bills passed.
Then we have President Biden. Biden has been more effective than Schumer, but not really by much with someone who has the Bully Pulpit. The major things Biden has done include the passing of The American Recovery Plan, figured out how to get vaccines out to the masses (but did not figure out how to enroll and engage the populace to get it), and brought us back to being the leader of the free world. Just as Schumer, Biden does not know how to play hardball or enroll the Senate caucus to pass what truly needs to be passed to save democracy and bring down inflation. He can spin a yarn and connect with the common man, but he doesn’t know how to deal with Republicans who are intent on bringing our great country into an authoritarian government. DeJoy still has his job. Manchin and Sinema still subvert changing the filibuster and block major pieces of legislation. Garland still has his job while having done nothing to help the January 6th Committee nor gone after those who planned January 6th and a Trump White House which broke multitudes of laws, nor fights against voter suppression laws in states. Harris is still kept in the background, someone who helped his ticket immensely.
That’s two of the three leaders in Washington. The two ineffective leaders. Which leaves Nancy Pelosi as the most effective leader in Washington.
I am not a fan of Nancy Pelosi for full transparency. She does not always get it right, and often times her timelines and choices are made long after it matters. More often than not though, she gets it right.
Pelosi is not afraid to call it like it is. Much of what she says is spot on, and can make people in power, and in the media, uncomfortable—not necessarily a bad thing. She is able to speak in a manner in which people of all the social classes of the U.S. can hear and understand. In many ways, this is why so many Republican and Republican-leaning men dislike, even hate, her so much. She is a strong and smart woman with a very strategic mind. Pelosi knows not only how to sit back and let her caucus rant and rave, even block things for a bit, and take some heat. Then, the next thing you know legislation is on the floor and it passes, even with many of the naysayers voting for the legislation they ranted against—which is okay since we often need to get things off our chest, be heard, then we support the person who listened and did not stifle our voices.
Just as when the Republicans controlled the Senate, Pelosi still gets legislation done. She shepherded Build Back Better, two voting rights bills, investing in Main Street, women’s health, elder abuse, suicide prevention, insider trading, and many other bills that would help lift us all. Bills that are languishing in the Senate.
We need Biden and Schumer to sit down with Pelosi, take some notes, and learn something! Maybe then we’d get some things done. Get them done before another crucial November election.