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Word of the Week: Leadership, The

Leadership, the . Collective term used by Congress to refer to its officers and ranking committee members. The term has a certain vagueness, however, that was addressed by Rep. Jerry Voorhis (D-Calif.) in his book Confessions of a Congressman :

‘The Leadership’ is a term constantly used in conversation among House members. It can mean Speaker alone or the Speaker and the majority leader, or those two gentlemen plus their unofficial advisers among the older members. No one ever knows, without asking, just what ‘the leadership’ does mean.

“Former Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield’s comment on the term was ‘The leadership has no special powers to lead’ — alluding to the fact that certain individuals like Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson created their own ‘powers to lead.'”

— From “The Congress Dictionary” by Paul Dickson and Paul Clancy.

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