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Archive: Congressional leadership

The tumor in this nation's belly

In a normal situation, compromise is the answer--but not in this case, not in the short-term. Compromise on the current budget may create some wins, but it could risk...

By Robert Goodwin | February 18, 2011; 02:08 PM ET | Comments (9)

Ready to rumble?

The "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" tradition may not be the most palatable, but it works...

By Juana Bordas | February 16, 2011; 02:44 PM ET | Comments (3)

Compromise is an ideal, not a reality

For the Republicans to compromise at this early stage of the game would be to make no real progress according to their own views of what needs to happen...

By Rice University Undergraduate Leaders | February 16, 2011; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (17)

The danger of political showmanship

The kind of positional bargaining so prevalent in Congress right now doesn't generate more options...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | February 16, 2011; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

This is not the time to compromise

There is no valid parallel between the outset of the Obama Administration in 2009 and the opening positions of the Republican House this year...

By Slade Gorton | February 15, 2011; 02:22 PM ET | Comments (7)

Servant leadership in politics

From a leadership perspective, there is little long-term benefit to be gained by hard-line politics, which in essence positions the leader to cling to...

By Alaina Love | February 15, 2011; 12:44 PM ET | Comments (3)

Prepare the caucus for letdown

Staking out a hard line at the beginning will either give the most conservative Republicans false hopes or box in the Republican House leaders when the time for compromise comes. Either is bad news...

By Marty Linsky | February 15, 2011; 12:41 PM ET | Comments (2)

In negotiation, don't give away too much

I don't think of it as "a hard line": I think of it as each side openly stating its desired outcome and then...

By Mickey Edwards | February 15, 2011; 12:37 PM ET | Comments (2)

Compromise: Strength, weakness or a way of the past?

Compromise often results in someone feeling as though they gave up too much or received too little. Leaders do not have the room for these results...

By Coro Fellows | February 15, 2011; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (1)

The difference between compromise and negotiation

Politicians might learn something from management and labor negotiators. While both sides may talk tough, seldom does rhetoric...

By John Baldoni | February 15, 2011; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (4)

Why Congress should watch where they sit

While the "who's sitting where?" game may seem just as juvenile as the "my side, your side" division of the past, the fact is that seating really does make a statement. Sure, few of us need to think about our seats Tuesday night, but just about all of us have hovered awkwardly around a meeting table at one point or other. Congress is right to understand that where they sit sends a signal about their power dynamics and willingness to cooperate--and the concept has interesting implications for business leaders.

By Carol Kinsey Goman | January 24, 2011; 02:51 PM ET | Comments (10)

Managing anger and fear

Somehow it's become accepted to publicly manifest one's anxiety, especially through anger. This is not to say that we won't face significant challenges in the years that lie ahead, but giving way to fear is the first self-indulgent step toward giving up...

By West Point Cadets | January 12, 2011; 06:43 PM ET | Comments (4)

What's your piece of the mess?

Hyperbolic politicians and the media and gun laws may or may not have contributed, Best as I can tell, we are already into heavy demonizing of "the other" in the aftermath of the tragedy...

By Marty Linsky | January 11, 2011; 07:29 PM ET | Comments (1)

Making the case for civility

The Tucson tragedy is at least a momentary reset in the super-heated discussion in Washington. The truth is that no one knows what the long-run impact is going to be, and everyone is scrambling to find the right note...

By Donald Kettl | January 11, 2011; 07:22 PM ET | Comments (3)

Our role in this tragedy

Our pattern seems to be a brief awakening during a crisis, at which time we are startled and sickened by the horror of what happened, but then we soon return to a semi-conscious state that serves to distance us from...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | January 11, 2011; 07:10 PM ET | Comments (3)

May this be a wake-up call

Leaders set a tone. When leaders in public life speak about their opponents in hateful, over-the-top vitriol, it makes people more fearful of those they disagree with and what they are doing to our country. When "lock and load" and "second amendment remedies" are part of the discourse, it sets a tone that...

By Paul Schmitz | January 11, 2011; 06:59 PM ET | Comments (9)

We need more Joseph Welch moments

Some of the louder voices in our society these days seem to believe that extremely bitter criticism of the government equates with the deepest patriotism. That's not necessarily the case...

By Yash Gupta | January 11, 2011; 11:47 AM ET | Comments (2)

It will take responsible leaders

Provocative radio and TV commentators won't disappear as long as they draw a large audience. But unless responsible leaders reject followers in their own parties who preach lessons of hate, unstable listeners will continue to believe that destructiveness...

By Michael Maccoby | January 11, 2011; 11:42 AM ET | Comments (1)

This is about guns, not rhetoric

Anyone who thinks that "vitriolic political rhetoric" is what killed and wounded the people in Arizona is in desperate need of a crash course in ballistics. It wasn't words; it was a Glock...

By Alan M. Webber | January 11, 2011; 11:35 AM ET | Comments (6)

Sandbox rules for politicians

Thus far, this system of communication has worked on some level because we're tuning in; we're supporting networks, radio stations and publications that broadcast this rubbish; and on some level, the American public is buying in...

By Alaina Love | January 11, 2011; 10:47 AM ET | Comments (4)

It's hard to be hopeful

I am still waiting for a talk show host or politician of any political persuasion to say, "I think my rhetoric has been excessive and...

By Howard Gardner | January 11, 2011; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (3)

Respect the rights of those who serve us

Judged by what passes for political discourse--with partisans on both sides hurling invectives--it would be tempting to blame extreme partisanship for the tragedy. That would...

By John Baldoni | January 11, 2011; 10:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

The dramatic decline in civility

The time has come for all elected officials and candidates for public office to pledge to refrain from personal attacks and gross distortions of facts for partisan political...

By David Walker | January 11, 2011; 10:14 AM ET | Comments (0)

Correcting the course

Now the elected officers are pursuing their respective visions, which in several cases result in attempts to reverse some decisions by previous leaders. That is the nature and the beauty of our constitutional system...

By Col. Charles D. Allen | January 5, 2011; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (12)

In the blame game, no one wins

Those who want to redo 2008 to 2010 will see the decisions that contributed to the fragility of the economy and that have locked the country into two intractable wars had their origins well before this time frame...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | January 5, 2011; 10:57 AM ET | Comments (3)

House Reps: Don't throw the baby out with the bath water....

A leader does not erase the past. A leader will build off the past to forward his or her agenda. Repealing President Obama's health-care bill will not magically bring back the health-care debate of 2008...

By Coro Fellows | January 4, 2011; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (10)

Prudent leadership is still MIA

At best we can look forward to another year of endless debate and limited progress. It's a bad case of déjà vu that doesn't seem to be getting better...

By Alaina Love | January 4, 2011; 11:44 AM ET | Comments (6)

Confronting our human fallacies

It often seems that, on an innate level, humans are ill equipped to organize effectively, whether it be in the private, public or not-for-profit sectors. Our technological capabilities to build and organize networks efficiently over the Internet have far outstripped our social capacities to...

By Sally Blount | January 4, 2011; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (1)

It all depends on your goal

Republican leaders seem focused principally on winning the 2012 presidential and congressional elections. At first I expect them to follow the oppositional course. But as the date of those elections approaches...

By Howard Gardner | January 4, 2011; 11:31 AM ET | Comments (1)

Making good on a promise

Republican candidates almost universally promised to repeal the Obama health-care bill during the course of last year's campaign, and that is a promise they must keep...

By Slade Gorton | January 4, 2011; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (19)

Solutions not sound bites

Governance is hard work. It involves putting the needs of others ahead of your own. For leaders, that often means turning down their own egos in an effort to work with other, even bigger, egos...

By John Baldoni | January 4, 2011; 11:13 AM ET | Comments (2)

The legislator: Nancy Pelosi

Despite millions spent to scapegoat her in the last election and the Republican's obvious glee at knocking her out of the Speaker's throne, Pelosi is leaving this position with dignity. More importantly...

By Kathryn Kolbert | December 22, 2010; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (19)

The reputation riskers: Dick Durbin and Tom Coburn

To me, leadership is an activity, not a person. It is something some people do some of the time; not something some people are or become. No one exercises leadership 24/7...

By Marty Linsky | December 20, 2010; 02:56 PM ET | Comments (2)

Creating a Benedict Arnold

As with the Benedict Arnold example, star performers can move up the organization to positions of great responsibility, without a clear understanding of the value of ethical behavior and institutional rules and...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | December 13, 2010; 03:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Betrayal is a potent weapon

The hardest part of all of this is that the people who supported Obama because he promised to fight for the little guy are feeling betrayed. And betrayal is a potent weapon in party politics that Republicans will cash in on...

By Kathryn Kolbert | December 8, 2010; 11:03 AM ET | Comments (5)

Obama's 'Sophie's choice'

The public should not accept such blatant manipulation or tolerate being held hostage by power plays and positional bargaining. This legislation is neither bipartisan nor optimum. Neither party achieved...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 8, 2010; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (2)

Playing from weakness

Obama's strength has been in the results he has won; his weakness has been in a failure to communicate his reasoning for accepting less than he has wanted...

By Michael Maccoby | December 7, 2010; 04:39 PM ET | Comments (4)

The tax cuts show progress

This is the essence of compromise, and gives us at least some hope of a constructive next year or so, perhaps even including...

By Slade Gorton | December 7, 2010; 11:56 AM ET | Comments (2)

Obama's authority is suffering

The president looks bad for making sacrifices and gestures, as with the federal wage freeze, and getting nothing in return from the Republicans. All he got was the back of their hand. Who knows. Maybe this will be the slap that...

By Yash Gupta | December 7, 2010; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (7)

Not the right deal to cut

While some compromise is necessary and should be encouraged, this "deal" does not seem reasonable from a fiscal responsibility and social equity perspective. It seems that President Obama is operating from a position of weakness and the Republicans from...

By David Walker | December 7, 2010; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (10)

Obama needs to take a stand

Obama looks like an individual without strong values for which he is willing to go to the mat--except for the value of mediation and compromise, which does not work when you occupy a role that requires decisions and the appearance of decisiveness...

By Howard Gardner | December 7, 2010; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (4)

On tax cuts, pragmatism vs. principle

The Democrats had an opportunity to tell a story about the tremendous pain that withholding the unemployment extensions could cause to millions, pain which the Republicans were willing to inflict it in order to preserve tax cuts for the wealthy. Yet the debate...

By Coro Fellows | December 7, 2010; 08:22 AM ET | Comments (14)

Compromise is king

Standing up for what you believe to be the right decision is the very definition of leadership. But standing tall for every idea you have is delusional...

By John Baldoni | December 6, 2010; 05:10 PM ET | Comments (2)

Grow up, Washington

We've become a nation of immediate gratification, which has contributed to the current economic debacle, coupled with leadership in Washington that refuses to make the very bold decisions that can right our economy again...

By Alaina Love | December 6, 2010; 04:30 PM ET | Comments (3)

Gridlock has its rewards

It's tragic what Obama has to endure from Republicans, or they from him, or all of us from all of them. So what's new? Our political system was designed thus...

By Ken Adelman | December 6, 2010; 04:25 PM ET | Comments (0)

Another kick-the-can solution

If we ever plan to avoid excessive debt, either Republicans will have to demonstrate the courage to raise taxes or Democrats will have to demonstrate the courage to cut spending...

By Marshall Goldsmith | December 6, 2010; 03:04 PM ET | Comments (2)

Sacrifice a little now or a lot later

Both parties want to reward their wealthy contributors, who make up the "elite" and possess no real understanding of how successful nations sustain their greatness--which is by maintaining a meritocracy, where anyone with hard work and smarts can...

By Don Vandergriff | December 6, 2010; 02:59 PM ET | Comments (8)

Obama allowed himself to be politically boxed in

While the left railed against tax breaks for "billionaires," that is not what was on the table. In the end, the president had to compromise because he had staked out a position that was untenable, especially in a time that required providing families with...

By Mickey Edwards | December 6, 2010; 02:23 PM ET | Comments (8)

Progress deferred on equal pay for women

Progress created by the Ledbetter Act was hamstrung last month by the failed passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act. The National Organization for Women explains that the act would have deterred wage discrimination by diminishing workarounds in the law and by minimizing retaliation against workers who disclose their wages.

By Selena Rezvani | December 3, 2010; 03:38 PM ET | Comments (1)

Equal-opportunity pain delivery

We really do not want our politicians to exercise leadership. We want them to take care of us and deliver any pain that is necessary to someone else. That's why we have...

By Marty Linsky | December 1, 2010; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (3)

The federal budget as metaphor

Our values and beliefs are embedded in the numbers, and changing the balance sheet is about changing ourselves. Balancing the budget is not just a realistic reallocation of resources; it is a metaphor for our belief about the American character...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 1, 2010; 09:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

We need more government sacrifice

President Obama's move to freeze federal workers' pay and soon-to-be Speaker John Boehner's jettisoning of his private plane are wise moves, but they are mostly symbolic. Our leaders need to be willing to do more and cut our spending down to the point we are just about to hit bone...

By Robert Goodwin | December 1, 2010; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (6)

Looking for love from an unloving public

The only successful way to ensure that Congress will swallow the bitter pill is to have them authorize a neutral group to make the tough decisions and then make sure that Congress is prohibited from making changes to...

By Kathryn Kolbert | December 1, 2010; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (4)

The next Congress provides the best opportunity

The American people are conflicted between a horror of mounting debt and deficits and their desire not to have their own benefits slashed, so neither party can be successful alone...

By Slade Gorton | November 30, 2010; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leading a moral imperative

Shared sacrifice reinforces the moral imperative of any leadership proposition. And we have a word for men and women who put themselves and their ideas forward for the good of the organization, even when it may mean they have to give up something. We call them leaders...

By John Baldoni | November 30, 2010; 11:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Americans are starved for fiscal truth

We can do it in an intelligent and phased-in manner before a crisis is at our doorstep; or else it will have to be done in a sudden, dramatic and possibly draconian manner in the face of a crisis. The choice is ours...

By David Walker | November 30, 2010; 11:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

Upending conventional wisdom

It seems that at the root of the spending and tax problem is a deficiency in the behavior of the American public, deepened through citizens' misaligned expectations of their leaders...

By Coro Fellows | November 30, 2010; 10:33 AM ET | Comments (4)

Four ways to evaluate such a big decision

There is one area in which leaders cannot reverse: integrity. You can change policy, but you cannot compromise principle. As straightforward as this seems, all too often we have seen...

By John Baldoni | November 22, 2010; 07:47 PM ET | Comments (3)

Close encounters of the unpleasant kind

TSA is in a tough spot. Every encounter with the screening process is destined to be unpleasant: inconvenient waits, intrusions into personal privacy, the risks of rude workers--all the fun of dealing with the IRS, with the awful specter of September 11 in the background as the inescapable reason for the encounter to begin with...

By Donald Kettl | November 22, 2010; 07:25 PM ET | Comments (3)

TSA--and politicians--need to make more unpopular decisions

It is the responsibility of the TSA to protect us, period. TSA leaders must be prepared to make unpopular decisions regarding our safety. Our sensitivities and complaints matter, but in this case leadership means doing something unpopular to keep us safe and fulfilling the responsibilities associated with TSA's mission...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | November 22, 2010; 07:15 PM ET | Comments (10)

Let's end terrorism hysteria

Airport security should have been handled by contractors. If they did something really stupid--like groin-groping--they could be fired. Government folks can't. Plus, then government would be a step removed from glaring stupidity...

By Ken Adelman | November 22, 2010; 03:40 PM ET | Comments (11)

Not the time to backtrack

It is an appropriate decision that should not be reversed by outcries from the public. The agency should exercise courage in maintaining its important decision...

By Pablo Eisenberg | November 22, 2010; 03:36 PM ET | Comments (2)

Know when to let your members off the hook

She has become the issue, rather than keeping front and center the issues she says she cares about--such as restoring the Democratic majority and keeping the White House in 2012. Her seeking re-election to the post is another example of her putting herself above her party and, once again, doing what no legislative party leader should ever do: forcing her members to make a bad vote that is likely to haunt them two years from now. It is as if she has learned nothing at all from...

By Marty Linsky | November 11, 2010; 05:26 PM ET | Comments (4)

Why Pelosi didn't fail

Women and men need to see an example of a woman politician who has had to face a loss but refuses to back down. Too often, women leaders become discouraged after an initial loss, or are encouraged by others to step down following a failure. What would happen if instead of backing down, we came back with even more fire in our...

By Marie Wilson | November 10, 2010; 01:48 PM ET | Comments (7)

Pelosi deserves plaudits

I resist the temptation to jump on the Megabus that is driving the trash talk against Nancy Pelosi. The campaign of vilification orchestrated by Republicans with millions of dollars in often anonymous campaign funds was masterful, but Dems should not be swayed by their opponents' propaganda. Pelosi...

By Kathryn Kolbert | November 10, 2010; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (5)

Things fall apart

How can Congress make the best use of the next two years? To answer that question it is important to note that the interests of the Democratic Party should not supersede the interests of our nation. Rather, our next minority leader must further bipartisan decision-making. As such, there is no need to look at whether Speaker Pelosi is the best person for the...

By Coro Fellows | November 9, 2010; 04:10 PM ET | Comments (3)

Dems need new blood

If the Democrats' congressional leadership is unchanged after the party has taken such a hit, it might well create the additional problem of discouraging frank and open conversation about the necessary changes that the Democrats must consider. They just can't stick to the same old recipe...

By Yash Gupta | November 9, 2010; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (3)

'A wish for leaders'

There are some key questions that should be considered by both, even though Senator Reid has retained his formal position and Speaker Pelosi's fate is now dependent on the votes of her peers. In the final analysis, both will have to be authorized by those they want to influence. Can they present and represent their positions...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 9, 2010; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Acceptable vs unacceptable failures

If your personal values are aligned with those of your organization, you will know how much and what type of failure is too much. If you hold true to your values and have the courage to accept responsibility for your actions, you'll know when you need to step aside. At the end of the day, we must act...

By West Point Cadets | November 9, 2010; 02:41 PM ET | Comments (1)

It's a problem of peer judgment

From an "electoral" perspective, Pelosi's performance could, of course, hardly have been worse: Democrats suffered a historic loss of more than 60 seats and Pelosi herself became the poster child for alleged Democratic "wrong track" ideas. But from a "legislative" perspective, Pelosi's performance was also historic in...

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | November 9, 2010; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

How Pelosi is like KU's Coach Gill

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faces a situation many authority figures face when they are linked to poor results. But Pelosi can take heart, she has a kindred spirit here in the Heartland. University of Kansas head football coach, Turner Gill, isn't a politician, but his job is political. As does Pelosi, Gill makes his living in a full-contact activity. Each also faces a growing chorus of detractors wanting...

By Ed O'Malley | November 9, 2010; 07:53 AM ET | Comments (1)

Good leaders never give up? Nonsense

Forget the myth nurtured on the football field that leaders never give up. Nonsense. True leaders are smart enough to know when to stop bashing their heads against opposition stronger than themselves. Even smarter ones, and may I add more courageous ones, know that the bravest thing to do is to give up...

By John Baldoni | November 8, 2010; 06:02 PM ET | Comments (0)

There is no dilemma

Thoughtful leaders should and do resign after losses far more modest than Nancy Pelosi's of last week. But Republicans, of course, are delighted at her candidacy, delighted at the prospect of her symbolizing Congressional Democrats for two more years. And House Democrats are in disarray, most of them privately wanting to see her back but afraid to say. At least for the moment...

By Slade Gorton | November 8, 2010; 05:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

Democrats should stick with Pelosi and Reid

Both Obama and Pelosi have been effective leaders for the Democrat constituency. Neither has connected with the Republican constituency. Would other Democrats do better? Should Pelosi be replaced by a Democrat considered more centrist? The danger is that this would alienate...

By Michael Maccoby | November 8, 2010; 05:51 PM ET | Comments (10)

'How sweet it is to wear the crown'

We Republicans are delighted that the Democratic faces in Congress remain those of Pelosi and Reid. Their decisions to remain leaders is bad news for Democrats. Yet it's surprisingly unsurprising. Even great historic leaders like Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Maggie Thatcher, and many others simply hung on too long. Why do they, even after achieving great feats? Shakespeare puts the reason simply: "How sweet it is to wear the crown"...

By Ken Adelman | November 8, 2010; 05:44 PM ET | Comments (2)

Some force-fed humility

Congresswoman Pelosi has lost credibility by insisting on remaining the head of the Democratic caucus in the wake of the recent elections. By 'fighting' to stay in the limelight, she leaves the impression that her agenda is more about her than about the things she claims to believe in. A more credible and humble approach would be...

By Bob Schoultz | November 8, 2010; 05:39 PM ET | Comments (7)

On being a 'net negative'

Pelosi has become an anchor around the neck of the once hopeful Democratic Party, and the election should have been signal enough for her to move on. Any attempt on her part to linger, to continue to represent Democratic ideals and intentions, will further set the party back. She's had her opportunity, it's time for new blood...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | November 8, 2010; 05:30 PM ET | Comments (4)

Work with those that would see you fail

We should not accept the appearance rather than the reality of cooperation; nor can we tolerate the unconditional resistance to change seen these past two years. In the long term those who are all about power not purpose, about self-interest not the common good, about control not compassion will be exposed as non-leaders...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 2, 2010; 10:53 AM ET | Comments (5)

James Madison was right

Scrape away the personal attacks, lies and distortions, and we are faced with different interests, passions and theories about what is best for America. Madison was hopeful that an enlightened electorate (and this only included white males with property) would select leaders "whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and...

By Michael Maccoby | October 27, 2010; 01:04 PM ET | Comments (3)

Painting states into colors

The current political campaign language is deeply divisive. Painting states into colors denies our diversity and reinforces the delusion of independence. It rewards insularity and social callousness, i.e., "if I have adequate health care and you don't it's not my problem"; "if my children can get the best education and yours can't, that's too bad"...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | October 26, 2010; 12:17 PM ET | Comments (5)

Disappoint your own people at a rate they can absorb

Elections themselves are the antithesis of leadership. They are as pure a form of authority seeking and pandering as exists in a democratic society. Public yearning for leadership in the run-up to elections is inappropriate and naive. We have designed it that way, creating a system that keeps aspiring office-holders as close to voters as possible. But shame on the successful politician who does not exercise leadership in the months right after the...

By Marty Linsky | October 26, 2010; 10:03 AM ET | Comments (0)

Defusing our fiscal time bomb

It will be interesting to see whether President Obama and the new Congressional leadership can pivot after the elections in a manner that will allow some progress in defusing our fiscal time bomb. It clearly is in our nation's interest for them to do so, and hopefully they...

By David Walker | October 26, 2010; 09:58 AM ET | Comments (0)

Smart leaders compromise

It is so disheartening to see compromise being dragged through the mud of what purports to be political discourse. Politicians desperate for cash and voters roundly criticize compromise as somehow being a tool of deceit and an indication of lack of spine. When in reality, compromise is not only a sign of intelligence; it is a sign of...

By John Baldoni | October 26, 2010; 09:53 AM ET | Comments (2)

Four questions to ask of Republicans

Regardless of party, campaigning and governing are and will always be different. As Mario Cuomo famously said when he was running for the Democrat nominee for president, "Campaigning is poetry. Governing is prose." In next week's election, the contrast between campaigning and governing will be more pronounced than...

By Warren Bennis | October 26, 2010; 09:39 AM ET | Comments (0)

On compromise and campaign finance

The concept of compromise as a desirable end-result neglects the notion that differences are often acceptable and, indeed, desirable--it should not necessarily be the goal of government to bring all people together. This seems to be particularly true around hot-button social issues, when a politician's "values" are being tested, and compromising to build consensus might compromise...

By Coro Fellows | October 26, 2010; 08:41 AM ET | Comments (13)

August recess a chance to listen

Traditionally, the August recess is what that's all about. It's a chance for Senators and Representatives to reconnect with the electorate and gain invaluable insights into how pivotal policy decisions impact Americans' day-to-day lives. As a robust understanding of constituent concerns is essential to strong leadership, I have no problem with Congress heading home in August - and especially during an election season that demands citizens be as well-informed as those they've chosen to lead.

By Robert Goodwin | August 19, 2010; 01:56 PM ET | Comments (0)

Congress's actions 'the height of hypocrisy'

It is not leadership to automatically be against something no matter what it is and have nothing substantive to offer in its place. It is not leadership to vote against bi-partisan Committee legislation because it makes the other party look bad. It is not leadership to block the appointment of positions intended to help the government run more effectively.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | August 17, 2010; 01:40 PM ET | Comments (2)

Going fishing means listening to voters

Staying in DC in August will not change the gridlock that is the likely outcome of political parties more interested in cable TV headlines than lasting change. Perhaps a short visit with angry and frustrated constituents will help our leaders in Washington talk constructively about solutions. God knows, more swanky lunches at the Monocle won't get us there.

By Kathryn Kolbert | August 17, 2010; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (2)

Why not a ten week recess?

Leaders should break routine and be at work in critical circumstances - albeit presuming that the leader's presence is helpful. Not the case here.

By Ken Adelman | August 17, 2010; 08:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Democratic leadership has lost its way

The failure of Congress to deal with climate change and immigration, among other challenges, is not due to its being in session too little of the time, but to the nature of those issues and the mood of the country.

By Slade Gorton | August 17, 2010; 08:48 AM ET | Comments (0)

When to call all hands on deck

As much as we want our leaders responsive to the crisis at hand, leaders need to be careful they do not overplay the urgency card. For example, as in Chrysler's case, Marchionne wanted all his key executives working hard to ensure survivability. That works well in the short run, but over the long haul the price of such work can be expensive.

By John Baldoni | August 17, 2010; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (2)

The problem is Congress, not summer recess

It's hard to consider this question on its merits. When in session, this Congress has become increasingly dysfunctional. There is no reasonable prospect that, if called in in session, this Congress would act on climate change or immigration.

By Howard Gardner | August 16, 2010; 03:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Congressmen and women need rest too

We could show these officials our appreciation by letting them enjoy their six-week holiday before they get back to the serious work at hand. Insisting they stay tied to their desks like Bob Cratchit on Christmas Eve wouldn't do them or us any good.

By Yash Gupta | August 16, 2010; 03:36 PM ET | Comments (3)

Recess not only 'thoughtless' but 'irresponsible'

The six-week vacation that Congress is taking is not only thoughtless but irresponsible, especially at a time when citizens are out of work and few get more than two weeks vacation a year.

By Pablo Eisenberg | August 16, 2010; 02:20 PM ET | Comments (3)

Congress doesn't need more time at 'government HQ'

today signs point to a dangerous tendency to reconfigure our form of representative democracy into a parliamentary straitjacket with Democrats and Republicans expected to tow the line or risk repudiation for undermining party unity.

By Elizabeth Sherman | August 16, 2010; 02:14 PM ET | Comments (0)

Undermining the 'HP Way'

The HP values have been undermined and frayed by some of the leaders who followed Bill and Dave. Mark Hurd promised to revitalize the HP Way. His actions, hiding expenses to engage in a questionable relationship that does not pass the smell test, undermine the trust essential for a company's sustainable success.

By Michael Maccoby | August 10, 2010; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (2)

Arizona's 'Hiccup,' the dragon-trainer

As of late, upper-level leaders had allowed immigration reform to become nothing more than a bullet on a list of "things to do if I am elected." Gov. Jan Brewer is taking action, however much I may disagree with it, towards reforming immigration in the U.S.

By Coro Fellows | April 29, 2010; 08:03 AM ET | Comments (11)

GOP scare tactics won't work

I think the Republicans have always known that once the universal health care genie is out of the bottle, it will be hard to get it back in.

By Joanne B. Ciulla | March 23, 2010; 03:14 PM ET | Comments (1)

Ready for a walk-out

The American people want to see work getting done in Washington, but it must be a quality job.

By Robert Goodwin | February 24, 2010; 07:42 AM ET | Comments (5)

No zero-sum game

So far, there has been too much reinforcement of negative, resistive behavior and too little support for mature rational leadership in Congress.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | February 23, 2010; 01:13 PM ET | Comments (5)

Principled conservatism

Saying 'no' appeals to far-right voters, but congressional elections come, the public may blame Republicans for sabotaging progress.

By Michael Maccoby | February 23, 2010; 11:38 AM ET | Comments (7)

Patriotic imperative

Creating consensus is one of the main roles of a leader, and centrist citizens care more about substance than slogans.

By Yash Gupta | February 23, 2010; 11:29 AM ET | Comments (2)

An easy answer

Republicans should stick to their point that the president is advocating a system that will will cost most Americans more and give them less.

By Slade Gorton | February 23, 2010; 06:19 AM ET | Comments (6)

By merits, not partisanship

Anybody who opposes legislation for reasons of partisan advantage is guilty of not doing his or her duty as a member of Congress.

By Mickey Edwards | February 23, 2010; 05:54 AM ET | Comments (4)

A big price to pay

If the two parties fail to agree on a centrist bill, albeit a modest one, voters will punish them next November.

By Bill George | February 23, 2010; 05:47 AM ET | Comments (2)

Fascination with power

I don't expect much progress at the health-care summit--at least not until both parties realize they were elected to be servant leaders.

By Scott DeRue | February 23, 2010; 05:40 AM ET | Comments (3)

Winning with 'no'

For Republicans, saying 'no' to the current health-care plan accords with their principles.

By George Daly | February 23, 2010; 05:28 AM ET | Comments (10)

The great Republican uprising

The Great Republican Uprising will be one of the most monumental political power shifts of our time -- if you exclude the Great Democratic Revolt of 2008.

By Coro Fellows | February 23, 2010; 12:45 AM ET | Comments (49)

 
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