Commentary: Blessed are the listeners

Keith C. Burris, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Political News

President Joseph R. Biden has already had much of the membership of the United States Senate to the White House for meetings, consultations and conversations.

That's a natural thing for someone who is a creature of the Senate — he served there from 1973 to 2009.

It's also a natural thing for Biden, the man.

He went to visit an ailing, 97-year-old Bob Dole last month.

Mitch McConnell attended the funeral of Biden's son Beau.

The president is a people person, a relational public man, an empathizer in chief, which means, in part, that he is a listener.


A good politician, a great leader, need not be a great speechifier (Biden is not), but he has to be a great listener.

Tom Brady is not an eloquent speaker (in public). He speaks mostly in generalities and cliches. But he is, undoubtedly, a great leader. And one reason is that he watches, he reads situations and people, and he listens.

Biden, we have learned, also regularly speaks with former presidents, which is something incumbent presidents used to do and need to do.

John F. Kennedy sought the advice of Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had been the president before him and won a world war. He was also the head of the other party. Wouldn't Kennedy have been a fool not to have sought Ike out?


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