Pelosi: I don't consider myself a moderate.

Discussion in 'Politics' started by MohdSalleh, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. Nancy Pelosi: is this the most powerful woman in US history?

    Hailed at first as an anachronism and a political gift to Republicans, the 'extreme liberal' is being seen as the best US Speaker for a century

    Chris McGreal in Washington, Friday 26 March 2010 18.37 GMT

    Just a few years ago, Republicans greeted Nancy Pelosi's rise to the upper echelons of the Democratic party as a political gift.

    She was, her rightwing foes asserted, an extreme liberal of the kind true Americans just don't like – vocal in her support of gay rights, feminist causes and policies frequently branded as socialism.

    Worst of all in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, she was strongly against the invasion of Iraq, just as she had been opposed to the earlier war with Baghdad over Kuwait. Republicans smirked that the Democrats had doomed themselves to irrelevance when they chose Pelosi as the first woman to lead them in the House of Representatives in 2002, and later as Speaker.

    Not a few in Pelosi's own party and beyond agreed. Among other things, she had a reputation for shooting her mouth off, once calling the elder President Bush a "jerk". She would come to say much worse about his son.

    Joe Klein, author of the bestselling political novel Primary Colors, described the newly elected Democratic leader in the larger of the two houses of Congress as "the very sort of political anachronism the party should studiously avoid".

    Eight years on, Pelosi is once again the favoured target for Republican attacks after rescuing President Obama's healthcare legislation as it teetered on the brink of oblivion. But there are not many who now call her an anachronism or accuse her of marginalising her party.

    Through several elections and an unpopular war, Pelosi has been instrumental in leading the Democrats back to control of the House of Representatives and then on to a healthy majority. And now, after forging the consensus among deeply divided House Democrats that saw passage of the first significant, if compromised, social legislation in decades, Pelosi is being heralded as the most powerful woman in American history and the most powerful Speaker of the House of Representatives in a century.

    It's not an accolade she rejects.

    "That sounds good. I don't take it personally, except I take it as a compliment for all women because as the first woman Speaker I certainly wanted to demonstrate that we could get a job done that has eluded others for a century," she told ABC news this week.

    Pelosi has been honing the skills to get the job done almost since the day she was born 70 years ago.

    She wasn't elected to public office until she was 47, but Pelosi grew up in a deeply political household in the Italian quarter of Baltimore. Her father, Thomas D'Alesandro, was a member of Congress and later Baltimore's mayor.

    D'Alesandro was a vigorous supporter of Franklin Roosevelt's social justice programmes and believer in the power of government to improve the lives of people who needed the help most.

    Pelosi watched her father's political machine at work – seeing how favours were delivered, loyalties built up and debts called in, and how that could be put to the public good. They were lessons she carried to school, where she told her classmates how their parents could make the system work for them. "I would tell them how to get a sick relative into City hospital, how to get a job that paid a living wage," Pelosi told the Nation in 2001. "I thought that was what it meant to be a Democrat: You make sure that government works for the people."

    Pelosi's father also steeped her in the art of the compromise, and when to stand her ground. Those lessons were not to be unleashed until several years later after she married a multimillionaire financier, moved to San Francisco and became embroiled in Democratic Party politics between raising five children.

    Pelosi built a reputation for two complementary strengths: forging constituencies among the disparate Democratic Party interests in northern California, and as a formidable fundraiser. Those talents helped propel her to the regional party leadership and then, in 1987, positioned her well to win a seat in Congress that she has held on to through 10 elections, winning by sizeable majorities.

    Once in Washington, Pelosi kept the financial ball rolling on behalf of the party and other members of Congress, not only bringing in more than $100m over the years but also winning friends who would prove valuable during her rise in the House.

    Pelosi won the post of whip in 2001 at the expense of Steny Hoyer, who has found himself trailing Pelosi ever since. A year later she became her party's leader in the House and set about forging an unusual degree of unity among Democrats while annoying Republicans.

    In recent months, the Democrats have routinely accused the Republicans of being the party of 'No': of resisting legislation without offering viable alternatives. Nowhere was this clearer than over healthcare, when Republicans in both houses of Congress voted solidly against the reforms.

    But it was the strategy Pelosi pursued when the Democrats found themselves in opposition.

    When President George Bush proposed to reform social security, Pelosi pressed Democrats to avoid a public debate over the issue because it would be hard to win against the pulpit of the presidency. She offered no alternative plan and instead preferred to direct the party's energies in to unleashing a full frontal attack on Bush's motives. Social security reform failed.

    Pelosi demanded, and frequently got, a unified front in opposition to other Republican legislation. She rarely defeated it but did force more moderate Republicans to vote with conservative members of their own party in order to pass cuts to public health and other social programmes. When election time came, Democrats were able to brand most Republicans with the same iron of serving only the rich and special interests.

    Pelosi even barred Democrats from holding joint press conferences with Republicans.

    She was also notoriously outspoken and, at times, seemingly out of step with the mood of America. She vigorously opposed the invasion of Iraq, leading Newsweek to describe her leadership as making "the Democratic caucus look more dovish than even the French".

    Just ahead of Bush's resounding 2004 presidential election victory, Pelosi launched a vitriolic attack on the president in the San Francisco Chronicle.

    "Bush is an incompetent leader. In fact, he's not a leader. He's a person who has no judgment, no experience and no knowledge of the subjects that he has decided upon," she said. "Not to get personal about it, but the president's capacity to lead has never been there. In order to lead, you have to have judgment. In order to have judgment, you have to have knowledge and experience. He has none."

    To some that made her look like an extreme ideologue. But by the time Bush left office, much of America had come around to thinking that Pelosi had a point. And by then, the Democrats had won control of the House of Representatives again, and Pelosi was the first woman Speaker.

    Republicans are frustrated that while Pelosi is not popular with Americans – no Congressional leader ever is – they have not grasped just how far to the left she is by US standards. Pelosi would not disagree. In 1996, she told the San Francisco Chronicle: "I don't consider myself a moderate."
  2. All BS. (1) She's a power hungry ideologue like Obama, so the desires of "we the people" don't mean spit to her. (2) The Dems got a majority in both houses and Obama got elected because of [1] backlash against Bush being such a turd, and [2] 96% of the blacks voted for Obama. (3) She had "unlimited funds from the public purse" to make unlimited bribes to any and all congressmen whose principles have a price.

    What name does THAT deserve? Certainly not "the greatest".. ANYTHING.

    She's merely the ring leader of the greedy criminals in the House.
  3. Ricter


    "Republicans are frustrated that while Pelosi is not popular with Americans, 'no Congressional leader ever is', they have not grasped just how far to the left she is by US standards."

  4. Ricter


    So, if we replace the "greedy criminals in the House" with politicians of, whom, your choice? or merely Republicans? we'll no longer have greedy criminals in the House, is that your thinking?
  5. lol do you get "scataphagous"?
  6. There's no question about it she's bat shit crazy just like obama , in which both are hell bent on destroying this nation.

    That either one has had success beyond recovering roadkill is tragic.