11/09/2010 11:21 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

"Will Power" -- Shakespeare on Hanging on too Long

The announcement by Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she will run for House chief honcho -- along with the premise that Harry Reid will remain leader of the Senate -- is good news for us Republicans. There nobody we'd rather feature as the faces of the Democrats in the Congress than Pelosi & Reid.

Their decisions to remain leaders, while surely bad news for Democrats, is surprisingly unsurprising. Even great historic leaders like Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Maggie Thatcher, and many more simply hanged on too long.

Why do they -- even after achieving great feats? Shakespeare puts the reason simply: "How sweet it is to wear the crown" (Henry VI, Part III).

Wanting to retain power reveals their awesome ambition, which got them into power initially. "Great men have reaching hands" (Henry VI, Part II), as do great women, and all aspiring non-greats.

Yet by hanging around too long, they do a disservice to their organizations, which otherwise would bring up fresher leaders, more atuned to the present predicaments rather than past ones.

And they risk falling further. This the sad Cardinal Wolsey realized as he left the King's service - "Farewell! A long farewell, to all my greatness!" - after staying too long.

The good Cardinal in Henry VIII analyzed his woes by explaining "the state of man" -- starting off great, to wholesome praise, so "he bears his blushing honors thick upon him."

Then comes the "frost, a killing frost" which causes the "good easy man" to realize "his greatness is a-ripening" and "nips his root. And then he falls, as I do."
And as Pelosi and Reid will, by not bidding farewell now.