When a private sector organization loses resources and has to downsize, it has to make painful decisions on reshuffling their management to account for fewer positions, usually requiring a few demotions or outright exits. Not so in the House Democratic caucus. When faced with the conundrum of fitting four existing leadership members into three positions, Nancy Pelosi struggled hard for a solution — until she remembered her Democratic agenda of public-sector management and decided to just expand leadership to accommodate the odd man out:
House Democrats averted a messyleadership struggle, clearing the way for Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer to become second in command of their new minority without a challenge from South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn.
Under an arrangement worked out in private, officials said late Friday that Clyburn would instead receive a new position, title unknown and duties undescribed, explicitly labeled the third-ranking post in leadership.
The maneuvering was described by Democratic officials after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., issued a vaguely worded statement saying she intends to nominate Clyburn to a new No. 3 post. The statement made no mention of Hoyer, and officials who filled in the details did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not permitted to speak publicly about the matter.
Instead of making a tough decision on shrinking resources, Pelosi just expanded her caucus’ government with no real plan for the additional expansion. Gosh, doesn’t that sound familiar?
What exactly will Clyburn do, anyway? He won’t be pushing votes as a whip does or chairing a policy committee for the caucus, so what benefit does this bring to the House Democratic caucus? None so much as it benefits Nancy Pelosi. By resolving the Hoyer-Clyburn conflict, she will face fewer questions about how her insistence on keeping her grip on power has disrupted the party’s leadership — and also avoids a nasty confrontation with the Congressional Black Caucus, which may still not be terribly impressed with a make-work featherbed position for Clyburn.
There is one other difference between private-sector and public-sector management, too. In the former, losing almost 25% of the companies resources would have stockholders looking for a new CEO.