Wednesday, April 06, 2011

at least someone's willing to fight

Nancy Pelosi's perpetually low approval ratings are a constant reminder that I'm well outside of the American mainstream. I found her to be an extremely effective Speaker of the House. She was generally honest about her opinions and intentions, including being unapologetically liberal, but wasn't a blowhard yelling into the mic on MSNBC. She was known neither for Harry Reid's cowering gunshy-ness nor Barbara Boxer's gavel-waving bravado. She let the opposition talk and put their bills up for votes, but in the end she always passed what she wanted and torpedoed what she didn't. Note for comparison the speakers on either side of her: Dennis Hastert, a Delay puppet with a flagrantly undemocratic "majority of the majority" policy, and John Boehner, a dissembler who's already lost control of the chamber not even three months on the job.

I'd also like to point to this story about her leadership during Bush's war on Social Security:
When Bush announced his Social Security plan last year, Pelosi told House Democrats they could never beat him in a straight-ahead, policy-against-policy debate because he had the megaphone of the presidency and was just coming off re-election. So the Democrats would thunderously attack Bush and argue there was no Social Security crisis and therefore no need for them to put out their own proposal. Some members were leery, concerned that Pelosi would make the Democrats look like the Party of No. As the spring of 2005 wore on, some pestered her every week, asking when they were going to release a rival plan. "Never. Is never good enough for you?" Pelosi defiantly said to one member. When Florida Democrat Robert Wexler publicly suggested raising Social Security taxes as the solution, Pelosi immediately chewed him out over the phone. Only one other Democrat signed on to his plan.

She was, of course, absolutely right and almost unique among Washington Democrats in understanding this very simple point.

People bitch about how Democrats don't have any backbone, but that Italian grandmother running the House Democrats is f**king iron. I'd take Pelosi over any other clown in Congress right now, and I'm starting to think I prefer her to Obama as well.

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