“Young Turks”

If you wonder what Madame Pelosi is up to think no further than your office. Or your church group. Or your club. Or perhaps even your family.

Madame Pelosi declared it is the job of Congress to conduct the war in Iraq. So she led the charge to try to set a deadline for withdrawal. And recently she made a high profile trip to leaders in the Middle East. To push the foreign policy of hers and her followers.

Maybe I got behind on my mail. So excuse me if I missed the news that the U.S. switched to a parliamentary system of government. And that Madame Pelosi became our prime minister.

A lot of commentators and newspapers dumped on her for these power grabs. They reminded her that our constitution gives our president the powers she seeks.

Here is another element that no one seems to comment on. When a president fails to use his powers others will try to confiscate them. This is the nature of the beast. The beast being Power.

The founding fathers understood the beast. They chained it with a constitution. The constitution limited the power of Congress. Limited the power of the President. Limited the power of the Supreme Court. They knew that people who love power would usurp it from others every chance they got. So they defined those powers. Congress can do this, but not this. The President can do this, but not this. Etcetera.

The beast tries to ignore the restrictions. Tries to break the chains. FDR packed the Supreme Court. To try to steal power from it. He steamrolled Congress to create his massive agencies. Congress re-attacked a few years later. Tried to take power from the President. Truman stood his ground. Good thing he was feisty. He did not have the public behind him as FDR did.

Nixon was so damaged by scandals that Congress booted him. It then tried to grab power from the presidency through various acts. Carter, in particular, caved.

Congress did not mess a lot with Reagan. He truly brandished the powers of the presidency.

What is happening now is what happens when a president is weak. Bush is. He has to conduct an unpopular war. He is as persuasive as a man selling air conditioning in Nome. And so he has lost support from a lot of Americans. Loss of support is loss of power. He cannot bully Congress because voters won’t follow his lead and pressure their politicians. They did when Reagan asked them to.

Lacking power, he cannot muscle Congress to follow his bidding. As LBJ did. Congress did not mess with LBJ. They stood double guard to protect every bit of power from his forays. They mess with Bush. They know he is a paper tiger. By circumstances. By nature.

He may be an efficient executive. He may cling to principles as old as our republic. And historians may thank him for this. But they will have to note that he did not wield power well. Politicians hate a vacuum of power. They rush to occupy it. Enter Prime Minister Pelosi. Rushing.

Now how can we compare this with your office, your club, etcetera?

In such groups people are assigned responsibilities. Power. If they don’t use the power, somebody else in the group will.

You surely have seen clubs, church groups and the like hijacked by cabals. Or by bullies. This usually happens when the club president fails to wield the power of the office.

When a manager in a business fails to use the powers of the position, watch out. A boss or an underling will maneuver to grab them. Whole lot of backstabbing goin’ on.

I have seen small companies taken over when the owner reduced his role. His underlings took over where he left off. When he awoke to what was going on it was too late. They were using the power he used to have. When they threatened to leave he knew he had to sell on their terms.

I watched a college president fail to wield the power of his office. By the time he was sacked one woman had taken over most of his duties. She held the hammer. He cowered.

People who study business write about “young Turks.” These are the rebels who want to overthrow management and seize power for themselves. Churchill commented on how young Turks in his party wanted to overthrow his rule. He was old. The Turks said he was losing his touch.

Prime Minister Pelosi ain’t no Churchill. But she shares with him an understanding of what power is. She is more like the Turks who circled him. She knows what to do when the guy in power drops his guard. Circumstance and his nature have caused President Bush to drop his.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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