Friday, November 17, 2006

Demanding Loyalty

I don't know about you, but I find this really creepy.

It's creepy on two levels. First, what is said about Pelosi and the new Congress. Second, what it says about Eleanor Clift. Eleanor isn't my most favorite person ever, but I don't spend any effort whatsoever disliking her either. I do have to say though, that as she talks about Pelosi and demands of loyalty it does make me wonder about her assumptions.

Frankly, the idea that *anyone* should be *loyal* to the House Leader is just simply weird. I mean *any* House Leader from any party.

There's an element of compulsion in the language that I find disturbing, as though Pelosi has been installed as some sort of tin-pot dictator over her new little kingdom. This is something I'd expect coming from a conservative blogger who can express just about any negative opinion without repercussion... but it's Eleanor Clift, who isn't conservative, isn't a blogger, and doesn't appear to think that she's saying anything all that terribly negative.

That said, I think Eleanor wrote a good article and it's not loving Pelosi or hating Pelosi... the weirdness is between the lines... She begins...

With Nancy Pelosi, it’s all about loyalty.

And then...
After the election sweep and all the emphasis on solidarity, she had second thoughts, but Murtha, bull-headed and dogmatic, pressed ahead. Pelosi felt powerless to stop him.

Well of course she was. He's not her minion to command.
She owed him the letter of endorsement that was released last weekend, and that’s where it should have ended.

That gesture of loyalty would have been understood.

Exactly. Because that is showing her loyalty to others, rather than a desire to control them. Leadership is something very different from control. She could be warm and supportive of Murtha without making it a power issue.
Pelosi invited freshmen Democrats into her office, and her opening line, delivered with a steely smile, was, “Before we talk about your committee assignments, let’s talk about the leader’s race.” A Pelosi aide said if the leadership race had been an open ballot instead of conducted in secret, Murtha would have won because nobody would want to cross Pelosi.

Now *this* is too bizarre for words. Who is this Pelosi aide and why does she still work for Pelosi? Or, and this is where it gets creepy, does this Pelosi aide feel like this statement was *supportive* of the new House Leader? This is portraying Pelosi, not as a strong leader, but a tin pot dictator who will get her way because her minions fear retribution.
Pelosi allies put a brave face on the loss, saying it puts Hoyer on notice that she’s watching him for signs of disloyalty.

Aparently the Pelosi posse *does* feel that these sorts of statements are complementary. Me? My gawd, this is not leadership, people!
Loyalty is a good thing, but an overdeveloped sense of loyalty is a bad thing. We don’t have to look any farther than the White House to see the limits of staying true.

Firstly, this isn't over developed loyalty. This is demanding loyalty from others or else.

Bush is criticized for his loyalty but Pelosi would be well served to take a good look to see what people mean when they say the word. Loyalty isn't demanded, it's inspired. Bush put his own popularity second to supporting those who worked for him. It's a bit of a military dynamic, actually. The structure says loyalty goes *up* but the reality is that the demand for loyalty is almost entirely from the top down. You do your best to promote what your people need and you do *not* play favorites. You do *not* keep a tally and punish those who don't toe the line.


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