1950s Control Tactics Can’t Manage Today’s Freewheeling Senators
James Wallner writes in the Federalist:
“Healthy institutions require effective leadership. This is evident in the dysfunction surrounding the health-care debate in the Senate today. Legislative leadership is difficult because legislators are notoriously hard to lead. This makes sense for the Senate, where the majority leader’s job has been described as “herding cats.” Nevertheless, some Senate leaders have been more effective than others.
“This suggests legislative leadership is a craft. That is, it can be done well or poorly. Mastering it depends on correctly identifying the challenges and opportunities inherent in the Senate’s environment. It requires acknowledging that a leadership style that works in one environment may not work in another….
“[C]hanges in the Senate’s environment make it more difficult to pass a bill with such a leadership-driven process. Given this, the Senate’s leaders would do well to learn from experience and consider how previous leaders altered their leadership approach in response to changes in the institution’s environment….”