George Bush has finally gone away. Well not really. As a goodbye gift he left his legacy behind, for once reaching across the aisle and leaving us with Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic reincarnation of all those attributes he shared with us and which we had come to hold dear. You know what I mean, the arrogance of power, the intransigence, the divisiveness, the thirst for partisan politics, the pandering to personal preference and the perception of fealty rather than competence for those called upon to high service to the nation. Even the syntax is not far afield.
Certainly their political and social agendas are at other ends of the political spectrum, and yet their modus operandi and their damage to the civil conduct of governance are uncannily similar. And this, at a crucial and dangerous time in the nation's history, with the nation's economy and security at risk and its citizenry grown tired, angry and deeply despondent about the glaring dysfunction of our governing class.
At the very outset of her ascendance to the House Leadership Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave the nation a tutorial on the arrogance of power. Shunting aside competence and experience, for reasons personal rather than substantive, she chose to sideline Rep. Jane Harman, the senior Democrat who had served on the House Intelligence Committee with distinction and who had been in line to become its Chairman in a highly dangerous time. Pelosi's personal partiality in effect placed the nation at risk, keeping fast in the tradition of such Bush appointments as Rumsfeld, Bremer, Tenet and the not-to-be-forgotten "Heck of a job, Brownie" by selecting in Rep. Harman's stead a perfectly competent individual, Rep. Silvestre Reyes. Reyes lack of preparedness for this keenly sensitive post was exhibited by his answer when asked whether Al Qaeda came from the Sunni or Shia branch of Islam?
"Al Qaeda, they have both" he answered, adding: "Predominantly probably Shi'ite."
Then of course there was Nancy Pelosi's scathing speech before the House at the close of the debate on the first bailout fund that went down to defeat at the end of September of last year. It was a speech of such partisan dimension berating Republicans relentlessly that had there been any hope of its passage, it ended on the spot. A worse time for partisan and divisive speechmaking would have been hard to imagine. The next day financial markets around the world near collapsed.
The partisan divide and bitterness elicited by the rancorous haggling in Congress and in Washington over the Obama administration's stimulus package does honor to the George W. Bush years. It would seem nothing much changes in Washington. David Brooks, a keen observer of political mores pointed out in his op-ed column, "The Gang System," in Friday's New York Times that President Obama had "surprisingly little influence on the stimulus' bill's evolution." Then going on to write, "The resulting bills would have been no different had Nancy Pelosi been elected President..."
So much so, that the bill carrying not a single Republican vote when it came before the House spoke volumes.
Mr. President, please take note and take the helm. This country didn't elect Nancy Pelosi President. They elected Barack Obama!