About two summers ago my dad asked me to take him to a local book signing event featuring Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Her new book had just come out and she was doing a tour. At the time she was considered a polarizing figure (still may be to some) and the right wing was mocking her low book sale totals, so I told my dad I had other plans. Now I wish I had gone to meet her in person.
She has since won my respect. I now admire her tenacity and leadership in the House of Representatives. No only has she facilitated the passage of over 290 bills in the House (most languished in the Senate due to GOP filibustering), she has been the driving force behind the historic health care reform legislation that was just signed into law by President Obama Tuesday at the White House.
As the President acknowledged her work in this monumental passage, her Democratic colleagues were chanting "Nancy, Nancy, Nancy." Speaker Pelosi also received much praise from her team leaders at the press conference after the Democratic legislative victory on Sunday night.
Polarizing or not, I have come to see her as a very effective leader, working behind the scenes, knowing her members, getting things done despite the odds, not allowing the angry lunatic fringe of the Tea Party to stop her, and doing it all with little or no votes from the opposing party. Even when the bill appeared dead after the special election in January of Republican Scott Brown to Ted Kennedy's Senate seat in Massachusetts, Speaker Pelosi convinced the President to stick with the entire bill, and not piece-meal it as Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had recommended.
The party of no seems to feel that Speaker Pelosi is a whipping girl of sorts. Even with all of her legislative success, Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee has come up with a "Fire Nancy Pelosi" campaign hoping the get GOP House candidates elected in November to change the balance of power in DC.
Well, Mr. Steele, all I have to say is dream on. Once again you are underestimating the Speaker and the Democratic party. You tried twice in the past to get Speaker Pelosi to resign with no success. The first time was last year when she claimed the CIA had lied to congress about enhanced interrogation techniques in 2002. After the GOP launched a big stink about it, CIA Director Leon Panetta came out and collaborated her story and she was vindicated.
Just recently the Republicans in the House were starting an investigation to discredit Speaker Pelosi when Representative Eric Massa (D,NY) resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct. They claimed a representative from the Speaker's staff had met with Massa last October and that she knew of the allegations then. Of course, all of this turned out to be bogus as Mrs. Pelosi admitted there had been a conversation with her staffer but that was before any allegations had come up and the GOP had to retreat.
I have a new take on this animosity that the obstructionist party feels toward Speaker Pelosi. They are threatened by her. Maybe it's sexism or maybe she is proving to be a powerful speaker who is accomplishing a lot and they don't like it because it does not fit their conservative agenda of corporate capitalism, increased military spending, and tax cuts for the wealthy: lest we forget, something we tried for eight years without yielding much economic success.
The public voted for change in 2006 and 2008 by bringing the Democrats to power. Speaker Pelosi and President Obama are working on delivering that change. An economic recession that hit right before the Presidential election of 2008, caused some of that change to be put on hold as the President and congress struggled to stabilize the financial markets, home foreclosures, and unemployment (still issues.)
My feeling is that this health care bill, as controversial as it is, will be good for the majority of Americans, helping them from going bankrupt due to lack of insurance or medical costs. It may even help the economy, unemployment and restore the public's confidence in the President's plans for fiscal stability of our future.
It took a lot of sweat and tears to pass it and it will continue to be hard work to maintain it. Now the opposition is not just the party of no, they are the Grand Old Party of sore losers. Thirteen GOP state Attorney Generals are threatening to sue the federal government, Republican lawmakers are promising to repeal it and now the House Minority leader, Rep. John Boehner (R, Ohio) is saying come November they will not fund it (if the GOP gains power.)
Well, good luck with that. They are facing a new Democratic party: one with guts, tenacity, courage, and righteous conviction exemplified by the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid, and President Barack Obama. I told my dad yesterday "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud to be a Democrat." I hope Speaker Pelosi comes back again for another book tour. This time I will be there to thank her and pledge my support.