Getting Things Done

Gray_Queen Anne_2012-08-17

2015-02-17 – Every year there is one crew that seems to be able to clear the snow from the streets in a way that they stay cleared. It usually happens March-ish. And when they do their work, the streets are usually clear for eight or nine months. I don’t know why they don’t always send that crew out.

They didn’t send that crew out this week.

When I was in college I took a Western Civilization class in which we read Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War. There was a passage from that book that we discussed and it impressed me. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find it. Maybe it was my professor’s interpretation of the text. But it impressed me. (If you know the source of what I am about to say, please let me know.)

What I learned is that there are three qualities of a good leader: knowledge of the best policy, honesty, and the ability to get people to follow.

When we vote in this country, we mainly focus on the first point. We vote for someone who voices policies we already support.

Once in a while, we vote based on honest. That’s how Jimmy Carter got elected after Watergate. I’m not saying that Carter was wrong about policy or that he was right. It was just a rare election in which honesty was considered relevant to the voters.

We never give much thought to a candidate’s ability to put his program into action. Maybe it is assumed that, if you got far enough in your career to be listed on the ballot, you are competent to get things done.

I’m afraid that’s not so. The snow plows are out all winter and yet it snows again and their work is erased.

The Republican establishment knows the value of getting things done. That’s why, with the roster of candidates they have running for 2016, they only have one or two candidates who will be getting the money. The rest are out there to stir people up.

Democrats haven’t dabbled as much with the insane wing of the party, but there seems to be no one who is concerned with the getting-things-done part of politics. President Obama has done pretty well considering his lack of experience getting things done.

For 2016, on the Democratic side, we have Hillary Clinton, who is likeable enough, but it’s not clear that she would be particularly skilled at getting things done. There’s Elizabeth Warren, who is more than likeable enough, but I fear she has less experience than Obama had when he became President.

And then there’s Joe Biden.

He’s very likeable. What’s more, he may have what it takes to get things done. But we don’t want that in our Presidents.

Some people want that in our Vice Presidents, though. And there’s talk that Hillary ought to tap Joe as her running mate. She’d never do that, though. She already has Bill. What would she do with Bill and Joe?

Even if it might be good for the country.

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