Control or Leadership?


  • – to exercise authoritative or dominating influence over
  • – to have power over
  • – to direct the behavior of


  • a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task”

In psychology, Control Freak is a slang term that refers to a person who attempts to dictate how everything around them is done – usually those with Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder.  Judith Orloff, MD,in her new book “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life”  describes it as a person “who feels out of control and tends to become controllers.  Deep down, they’re afraid of falling apart, so they micromanage to bind anxiety”.  You can read her blog post at Psychology Today.

Compare that to the definition of leadership and the key word becomes accomplishment. Unless control is your ultimate goal and not  problem resolution, I guess you could say thats leadership. I don’t believe most Americans believe that. I believe they want leadership from their members of Congress and the US Senate, but most of all from President Obama.  Years of standing at a podium lecturing on legal issues and topics of the day have left him believing his title as Commander In Chief does not require compromise, discussion, or accomplishments.  All he seems to understand at this point is “a red line in the sand”.  Add  535 Members of Congress and the Senate and you get a recipe for the very disfuction we’re living through now.  Control – not leadership.

After 11 years of working in a Congressional office I know first hand the difference between control and leadership.  For instance, a CBS reporter asked Senate Pres. Reid if he has walked across the building or made any attempt to communicate with House Speaker Boehner.  His answer after he hemmed and hawwed for over a minute, with a smile was “I have done what I was asked to do”.  That is control not leadership.

So what was he asked to do and by whom?  One can only surmise it must be the head of the Democrats, President Obama.  Control is more important than accomplishments for the good of the people.   Directing the outcome has priority over resolution

.In United States history, the degree to which the President’s political party has control over the House of Representatives and Senate often determines his political strength – such as the ability to pass sponsored legislation, ratify treaties, and have Cabinet members and judges approved.  Moreover, it appears to have a strong effect on presidential popularity and historical ranking, especially in conjunction with years served and number of elections won.

With control over the Senate and 2 years with the House you would expect to see more accomplishments by this administration than there are.  And if POTUS spent 1/3 of the time he spends running around the country campaigning for one issue or another working with ALL members of congress he might learn how to lead so that others would follow!  I’m afraid he always gets out so far out in front he leaves himself open to get his tail end kicked – and the country with it.  How was President Clinton able to accomplish a great deal for our country without total control – he knew what leadership required.

At this rate, nothing is going to get resolved anytime soon unless Senator Reid and President Obama figure out what Leadership is.  They might look to Speaker Boehner for help.  You may not like what he’s doing, but he is leading.  So, maybe Michael Reagan is right – just wait.  By the first of the year the American people will recognize that Speaker Boehner is the only leader and they’ll be willing to follow.  You can read his article here.

PS.    Congressman DeFazio just sent via Facebook a list of agencies currently open.  Here it is:

Citizenship and Immigration Services
Veterans’ benefits and services
Active duty military members and families benefits and services
Customs and Border Protection
Patents and Trademarks
Social Security applications and appeals
IRS extensions, payments
Transportation Security Administration
Student Loans
Overseas travel
Affordable Care Act implementation
Federal retirement services, disability claims
Workers compensation (federal)
Postal Service
Small business disaster assistance
Military Academies
Unemployment benefits

On This Day

Writing every day is part of my daily schedule. Work on my historical fiction is slow as I scan all the photos and outline the text, section by section.  Each segment tends to create its own start and stop and then I find myself without a focus for the days writing.  I decided that for the next year I’ll look to #OnThisDay to spark writing ideas and see where it takes me.

I was pulled back to a previous life when I read “#OnThisDay, Nov 21st, 1992 U.S. Senator Robert Packwood apologized to the many women he had sexually assaulted over the years.”  The Washington Post story detailed claims of sexual abuse and assault by 10 women, chiefly former staffers and lobbyists.  Over the next three years the subject of his removal, resignation and replacement proved to be the focus during hours of discussion.  Would he go, would he stay, who would run, would a replacement be appointed, etc.

Finally, in September of 1995, after the Senate Ethics Committee unanimously recommended he be expelled from the Senate for ethical misconduct, he resigned.  He had been dogged by the press, the politicos and his wife of 30 years.  Then the debate over whom the Governor might appoint to replace him or call for a general election ensued.  As Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon and staffer to Cong. Peter DeFazio, my hope was an appointment (Obviously of my boss) but Gov. Kitzhaber chose differently.  Cong. Ron Wyden ended up getting the job, I ended up resigning from the Chairmanship, and Senator Packwood ended up in divorce court.

It was that battle that generated his new nickname.  When challenging in court the amount of alimony she would get for the rest of her life Senator Packwood told the judge he couldn’t afford to pay her what she was asking.  He was so poor he could only afford a basement apartment.  At that time, basement apartments with street access were more expensive than most others.  He was known as “Basement Bob” by Democratic Party wonks from then on.  Peter went back to being a Congressman, and Sen. Packwood later married his long-time Chief of Staff, Elaine Franklin.

Wikipedia cited an article Mark Zusman did in 2009, for the Williamette Week.  The interview with Senator Packwood was short but informative.  He spoke about the rules and how when you break them you have to expect consequences.  In his 70’s he’s a lobbyist and still married to Elaine.  You can read the article for yourself at Cong. DeFazio and Sen. Wyden are still in Congress and I live in a remote town in Southern Utah where I create beadweavings and write.