For those who caught “60 Minutes” last night, you probably are as frustrated as I am with our two senior senators, who are metaphors for what is wrong with Congress. Steve Kroft interviewed Senator Mitch McConnell, the lead Republican senator, and Senator Harry Reid, the lead Democrat senator. Kroft also interviewed several departing senators who are fed up with the strident partisanship. One of those was Olympia Snowe from Maine, who is a moderate Republican senator. She said something very telling. She felt she could add more value as a consultant than as a senator due to the gridlock.
Please note that I am not a big fan of Senator McConnell. I think he is Exhibit A for what is wrong in Washington. But, I would like to add I am not that much more enthralled with Senator Reid. Kroft had the two of them sitting right in front of him as they played their obstinate selves. Kroft pushed hard on them saying you are the leaders and you are the problem. What came next was the typical partisanship answers on why we cannot work together. You could tell Kroft was quite agitated with them, as he tried to remain diplomatic. In essence, these guys are working to keep their jobs not govern.
I am going to use a phrase I have used many times in merger settings. I use this example, as it is very apparent when people are working to keep their job rather than do their job. I have seen very professional behavior from people who know they are about to lose their job as their company was bought. They care about handing over the reins without any problems. I have also seen some of the most childish behavior from supposed professionals to try to way lay their opposite in the merger, so they can get the job.
My advice is very simple in these settings – worry more about doing your job than keeping your job. Senators McConnell and Reid, all other senators and members of the house, we Americans must insist you worry more about doing your job rather than keeping your job. That means find a way to resolve our problems. I can assure you neither party owns the best ideas and needs to collaborate. You can be the solution if you work together and you are to blame for failure to act. Right now you hold the blame.