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Boehner: Will passing up power really work?

A new year brings a new Congress, and a new leader for one of the world's most dysfunctional organizations. That means new promises for new ways of managing, and new claims that this time, the way Congress works will change.

The Wall Street Journal has a revealing profile of new Speaker John Boehner, and his plans to adjust the rules of the House of Representatives. Between anecdotes of Boehner's early morning vacuuming and his strict 10 p.m. bedtime, the story shares some of his plans for changing the way Congress works. Boehner will propose requirements that new legislation be posted online 72 hours before it comes to the floor. He plans to put cameras in meetings of the powerful Rules Committee, which sets the guidelines for debate in the House.

And perhaps most interesting, for those outside the Beltway at least, is his plan to give more power to committee chairmen. In most organizations, this would be applauded as a very good thing. CEOs or other leaders who give more power to the people who work below them are usually practicing a bottoms-up management approach that leads to more effective decision-making, fewer bottlenecks and more expertise-driven policies.

But what's admirable leadership elsewhere could be a disaster when it comes to Congress. The problem? Decentralization works in other places because everyone is working toward the same goal. While there may be sideline power struggles and political games individuals play to get ahead, people are typically on the same page. Whether they're leading corporations, nonprofits or military forces, they're trying to maximize shareholder profits, raise funds from donors or defeat a common foe.

The situation in Congress is exactly the opposite. There are more competing priorities in the House of Representatives than there are members. Everyone has their own goals, their own promises to keep, their own re-election campaign to prepare. Passing up power could lead to little more than power grabs from others, creating even further infighting and dysfunction.

Perhaps Boehner will find a way to make it work. He's certainly seen the effects of a domineering Speaker, and that could motivate him to get it right: When he took over party messaging under Newt Gingrich in the 1990s, he watched up close as the Georgia Congressman micromanaged his way to failure.

But that doesn't mean it will be easy. Sharing power is hard for any leader to do. It may be almost impossible for the leader of 435 people who each have their own agenda.

By Jena McGregor

 |  January 4, 2011; 1:04 PM ET |  Category:  Change management , Federal government leadership , Government leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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The liberals lost, they have no idea why, and the best they can do is call good people bad names, like little children: just listen to winemaster 2, calling Boehner SOB, malignant narcissist (I thought Obama has a monopoloy on that one), perverse, bigoted, blah, blah.
Or mac7, calling them hateful party. Who hates them? Only the liberals, not the people. And the silly mind of tigman2, already calling for jobs! Hey, when Obama destroyed them, it will take many months to restore just a few.

Certainly sounds like a typical empty liberal minds: wants to think, tries hard, but keeps failing.

Posted by: rimantas1 | January 5, 2011 2:54 PM

Why does he always look like he´s halfway in the bag?

Posted by: areyousaying | January 5, 2011 2:47 PM

He'll be weeping a lot- I know that for sure. Actually that's the only thing I know for sure.

Posted by: poppysue85 | January 5, 2011 8:53 AM

The SOB through and through conservative republican, with his malignant narcissism, chronic scape goating, perversity of inequality, rights only of his bigoted kind will be far better of to peel that fake tan , get a white wash or along with the rest of the US Congress drown in the River at the 14th street bridge.

Posted by: winemaster2 | January 5, 2011 7:31 AM

Boehner appears very power hungry and power hungry people are always dangerous and stupid.

This man spent 2 years being the hateful party of no because he wanted that gavel and did all he could to tear the democrats and Peloski down so he could have his gavel. This is not the actions of a true leader for anyone but himself.

Posted by: mac7 | January 5, 2011 7:29 AM

Don't trust Boner,

Posted by: RobRoy1 | January 4, 2011 11:02 PM

Where are the JOBS JB?

Posted by: tigman_2 | January 4, 2011 5:13 PM

We saw this movie before and it brought on two Wars and a Recession. Cry Baby Boehner is to weak and child intelligent to be a leader and will have Lobbyist do his job. Just think Boehner is third in line to the highest office and would cry when a World leader said hello. We will see a circus of clowns and Obama again will have to run the country for the people. The big win by the GOP showed how uneducated American voters are. We're watching two weeks of comedy show by the House while Americans don't know nothing can be passed until the Senate returns and they will block it. The President of the United States is the only person with Executive Power not any other person even if Boehner thinks it different. The House will be read the Constitution on the House Floor as the first time in History which means for all this time these Law Makers didn't know what it said and most Americans learned the Constitution in high school. At lease it makes since now why their so stupid.

Posted by: qqbDEyZW | January 4, 2011 3:48 PM

It's finally happened: Boehner has been promoted to his level of incompetence. The Peter Principle fits him to perfection.

Posted by: Diogenes | January 4, 2011 3:20 PM

It was Super PAC's, the oil and gas industry, defense contractors, big business and insurance industry money, that helped bring the Tea Party into power. Boehner once was even observed giving out tobacco lobby checks to Congressional Members while Congress was in session. One place you can bet the cameras will never go, the backrooms and lobbyist offices.

Posted by: magnifco1000 | January 4, 2011 3:13 PM


Boehner? Doen't everybody know?Boehner is unstable. He'll blow up before three months' time.

And if he doesn't, Mossad or the boys from AIPAC, whoever does such things, will do him in in some way or other.

AND THEN ERIC CANTOR WILL BE THIRD IN LINE FOR THE PRESIDENCY. AND NO US PRESIDENT NOR VP WILL BE SAFE.

Rahm Emanuel was to have worked himself into that spot...third in line and then... that's why Obama called him out of congress to be Chief/Staff. Security for the US.(RM was even more unbearable in the WH than they thought, however, and had to go)

Any think this is a joke?

PS have to wonder WHY Chicago would want for mayor someone who ran to Israel right after 9/11 to work with the Israeli army.

Posted by: whistling | January 4, 2011 3:00 PM


Boehner? Doen't everybody know?Boehner is unstable. He'll blow up before three months' time.

And if he doesn't, Mossad or the boys from AIPAC, whoever does such things, will do him in in some way or other.

AND THEN ERIC CANTOR WILL BE THIRD IN LINE FOR THE PRESIDENCY. AND NO US PRESIDENT NOR VP WILL BE SAFE.

Rahm Emanuel was to have been the speaker...that's why Obama called him out to be Chief/Staff. (RM was even more unbearable in the WH than they thought, however, and had to go)

Any think this is a joke?

Posted by: whistling | January 4, 2011 2:57 PM

"Decentralization works in other places because everyone is working toward the same goal ... the situation in Congress is exactly the opposite."

Is it? I believe Mitch McConnell has stated that unified goal for everyone already. 'Make Obama a one term president.'

And the result? Repeal Obama Care. Rule changes in pay-as-you-go rules to remove the need to come up with spending cuts to compliment proposed tax cuts. Hearings aimed at repealing regulations by regulatory agencies from the EPA to the FDA. Fight for $100 billion dollars in budget cuts without increasing taxes.

Posted by: peter2001 | January 4, 2011 2:55 PM

Deja vu all over again...
Why would GOP dim-wads give away power?
Didn't the tide just turn in Congress?
What did the Dems give up for this benefit?

Way to go, "Bonehead" Boehner. This is the "new" GOP leadership that "got" the message???

Posted by: BigSea | January 4, 2011 2:53 PM

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