Monday, October 25, 2010

In praise of Nancy Pelosi

In an unguarded and candid moment, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told the National Journal that the GOP's "single most important" objective is "for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Yes, Senator McConnell. That's why you were elected. That's why your constituents sent you to the Senate. Not to govern; not to provide for the common defense; not to promote the general welfare...

You were elected to keep power out of the hands of Democrats. You were elected to score points for the GOP.

All those people who are on unemployment begging for work? An economy still barely on its feet? Two wars and a worldwide manhunt for international terrorists sworn to destroy America?

Not your problem. All is secondary to denying President Obama a second term!

This really shouldn't be a surprise, frankly. McConnell has probably said worse. (And, if I may play devil's advocate for a moment: I'm sure McConnell thinks the conservative method of governance is superior to the liberal... and, yes, the best way to promote this is to elect a conservative President. Nevertheless, it is a stunning thing for a sitting senator to say in a time of crisis.)

It has been the all but unspoken strategy of the GOP: anything that weakens Obama strengthens them.

I suppose they're about to reap the whirlwind, so if you're a cynical person, sure the McConnell method has been a success. (I think it will help destroy the GOP in the long run, but that's a different election cycle.)

The political mandarins have spoken, and it looks like House Democrats are headed for a long night next Tuesday. Senate Dems will probably survive the onslaught (although you never know), but their super-majority (for what it was worth) will be a thing of the past.


In all of this mess, I'm really sad to see Nancy Pelosi get the ax. She truly has been one of the best Speakers of the House Democrats have had in decades (at least since President Obama assumed office). The 111th Congress has produced some of the most far reaching liberal legislation since the Great Society -- and she deserves a lion's share of the credit.

I never thought she would whip the votes necessary to pass health care after the Scott Brown fiasco -- but she did.

I never thought she'd get a climate bill through Congress -- she did. (We have Harry Reid, and the White House to thank for its defeat.)

From Financial Reform, to the stimulus, to all sorts of hard votes she has been a savvy, brilliant counter of votes. One of the most important and significant women in American history. Certainly the most powerful.

But the thing that has always amazed me is how much she is reviled on a personal level. People really don't like her. She's a dirty word on campaign commercials... and I've never quite understood why. Sexism might have something to do with it. (Hillary Clinton also faced a kind of irrational hatred ... and I've always believed that some of it had to do with the fact that she was a powerful and assertive woman. But, frankly, HRC never came close to achieving what Pelosi did.) Another part of it might be because she is so successful at promoting her party's agenda.

But whatever the reason, she's the most likely person to be fired on Tuesday. (If Harry Reid can hold on to his seat, he'll probably remain Senate majority leader.) And it's a damn shame. Certainly better stuff than the odious likes of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the phonies in the GOP.