10/22/2006

Speaker Pelosi




Nancy Pelosi was just on 60 Minutes. The subject was a possible Democratic House, and thus, a possible Majority Leader Pelosi.

My ideas on November 7th are documented below. I would love to see a Democratic chamber of Congress and some balance in DC. But Pelosi is a ridiculous partisan hack. I certainly don't blame the Republicans for using her in the same way the Democrats use Bush.

Leslie Stahl did a good job of pointing out that, despite her repeated calls for unity and civility, she's one of the most partisan people in Washington. She has called the Republican leadership a gang of criminals, endlessly corrupt.

You may well be right Mrs. Pelosi, but don't tell us you're bringing a vision of unity.

She then said Iraq was not part of the war on terror. "What is," asked Stahl. "Afghanistan," she responded.

What kind of ridiculous nonsense is this? It can be argued that Iraq was not a part of the war on terror before we went in, but to argue that it still isn't? That it's still a diversion? Do they get newspapers in Washington?

13 comments:

prp said...

You're not the only one. Plenty of people have been speculating that she won't have the votes to be Speaker unless it's a real landslide and a lot of credit goes to the current leadership.

Beacon Opinion said...

The notion that Pelosi is a partisan hack is common-place; it is accepted as fact. It may indeed be true. I am not very familiar with her record.

But I need to see more evidence in terms of her proposals and votes before I accept this platitude.

The reason being is that conventional wisdom is not always accurate. In 2004 Dean was painted as a crazed partisan, and on the fringe, and bascially the world bought it, even liberals.

But his record as Gov. of Vermont shows a centrist, who alienated the left on many occasions. (Pro-Death, penalty pro-drug war, etc...)

So Pat, could you show me some hard evidence that Pelosi is a partisan hack. I am sure examples can be found of her words, which some argue is "extreme," (I think Dems have been too soft with critisizms of Bush); but specifically, I am looking for examples from her record.

I could be convinced, but I am too distrusting of this type of widespread labeling to accept this on its face.

Michael Corcoran

Beacon Opinion said...

(Sept. 19 www.pollingreport.com )

According to the latest polls only 49 Percent of Americans think Iraq is part of the War on Terror. (46 percent disagree, 5 percent unsure)

Whether or not Pelosi and the other 46 percent of Americans are wrong can be debated. But these numbers show that Pelosi's view is very mainstream when compared with the views of Americans.

as an aside, I think it is a silly question. I mean, what is the War on Terror?

(WOT)It It is too vague to have meaning. Its like the War on Drugs, or the War on Poverty. It could be called the War on Evil and it would mean the same thing as far as Bush is concerned.

Its funny, you argue that Pelosi is a partisan hack, but I would argue that most Democratic leaders have been very compliant with Republicans with the way the debate the WOT. They legitimize a very scary, continious, concept that allows Bush to basically invade any country he wants.

We should change the name of it to the Campaign against Terror or something, as to keep the executive from taking dicator-type power in the name of National Security.

The truth is you have a better chance of being struck by lightening than killed by a terrorist.

It is folly to lose thousands of Americans (and coultess Iraqis) in an effort to all terrorists, since killing all terrorists is like trying to take urine out of a swimming pool.

That money could be used for homeland secutiry, intelligence gathering etc...

But ridding the world of terror, Bush's stated goal for the WOT, is not ever entirely possible, and by grouping all wars in one vague concept result in a war that simply cannot end.

Which gives him the green light to enact Cheney's insane vision of the Unitary executive.

Michael Corcoran

Patrick Boyle said...

As minority leader, it is her job to be a partisan hack. She is the face of the party in the House, she can't exactly me independent minded or a rogue Congresswoman, can she?

My evidence for calling her such are evidenced in the interview I just saw. She makes her living out of division. Again, that's her job and that's fine, but don't insult us by telling us you're a uniter. I didn't buy it from Bush and I don't buy it from her.

She'll also sell issues down river to win. In the interview:

--"I've never walked away from any of my positions. I take pride in them." Asked about gay marriage, Pelosi says, "Well, that's an issue that is not an issue that we're fighting about here."

It isn't? Oh right, because saying she favors it on 60 Minutes might hurt the Democrats. I wonder what the issues are that she's "fighting about."

And on the war on terror: yes, I suppose we could rename it the "campaign against terror" if we want to sit around and waste our time. And Pelosi, by the way, isn't arguing the same thing you are, Mike. She's not saying that the war on terror is too vague or the winning is an impossibility. She is saying that Iraq is not a part of this war (which she believes in), but Afghanistan is. Huh?

We can agree perhaps that being a partisan hack is part of the job when you're the face of a party. But let's stop pretending Pelosi isn't a fool.

Jeff said...

Iraq's connotations regarding the war on terror are far more vague than Afganistan's, Pat. In Afganistan, the Taliban was harboring Bin Laden, which shows a distinct, clear link to terrorism. Iraq's place in the war on terror involves it becoming a "haven" for Democracy and reform in the middle east, thus promoting a culture that inhibits terrorism. This is the Bush Administration arguement, anyways.

If you look at how badly those goals have failed (or even backfired), then it seems logical to question whether Iraq was indeed about the WoT at all. I mean, look at how many American contractors are making money over there. You can also look at the fact that the initial reasoning behind the war had everything to do with Saddam having WMDs, which can only indirectly be linked to terrorism.

I fail to see why Pelosi (who, for the record, is a partisan hack) making a statement like that is so confusing to you.

P.S. Michael, policy doesn't define partisan hackery, statements do. Dean was a perfect example of someone who based their entire campaign on this sort of blind reactionaryism (yes, I just invented that word). It's not about where you stand, it's about the fact that you only talk about how much your opponents stink.

Michael Corcoran said...

I agree that she is not a uniter in terms of uniting Democrats and Republicans. And I agree that politics by its nature puts politicians in the role of divider.

In fact, I would argue that all of them -- Biden, Schumer, Kerry, Obama -- are partisan hacks, if by partisan you mean alcing the ability or inclination to think outside of your party.

When people say Pelosi is too 'partisan' to be House leader, they often mean she is too 'liberal' to have that role. Which I think is just hogwash; the Democrats over the last 20 years are as conservative as they have ever been.


I am simply saying that strong, arguably foolish, rhetoric is not enough to convince me that she is too partisan to be House leader.(which is why I was looking for evidence outside of her rhetoric, such as legislation or voting record.)


I don't love Pelosi, nor do I like many Democratic Party leaders. But I think she, more than most Democrats, wants a decent living wage, has a willingness to tax the rich, and will not be timid in her critiques of Bush.

But anyone who fits that bill will be labeled as too "partisan."


I realize that Pelosi is not making the same argument I am on the War on Terror. Thats why I said, as an aside -- it was a digression.

I was just noting that the Democrats legitimize the type of sweeping war policies by accepting and supporting Bush's concept of the War on Terror -- which is essentially the implemenatation of The Bush Doctrine.

I disagree that changing the name of the war on terror it would not be a waste of time. I am literally proposing to change end War on Terror as to disallow Bush to use his "war time powers" to do whatever he wants. (signing statements, secrecy, ignoring FISA courts).

We would still fight terrorism in the form of law enforcement, and if the President wanted to use the military he could ask congress, and declare a war on a specific country.

By changing the name of the War on Terror we would be starting a debate on the way this country thinks about militarism. Why have we had so many military interventions in the last century? Why do we invest so much money into weapons when 45.8 million Americans have no health insurance. (Way more people die each year from lack of insurance than from terrorists attacks)

I think we ought to question whether or not Bush's War on Terror is working; and more, if it is moral.

Hardly a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

I see where you are coming from about defining the term partisan hack. I think, however, that partisan hackery, at least how the term is used in American political discourse, can take place in the form of both rhetoric and policy.

Dean was not attacked for his fiery rheotric. But he was also attacked for his being too liberal, or as the DLC said, being "From the McGovern-Mondale wing of the Party" which just doesnt hold water when looking at Dean's record.

But in American discourse, if someone is called partisan (Ned Lamont, Pelosi, Dean) it often means "too liberal."

And this trend -- the demonization of all things liberal -- has been very bad for this country. Which is why I feel obligated to defend Washington insiders who I do not even like. Pelosi can be fairly accused of being too married to The Democratic Party Line -- I concur.

If you consider partisan as a synonym for "extreme" (which may not have been Pat's intent, but happens all of the time); than I disagree.

Pelosi is not that liberal and is not extreme. She may be divisive, maybe even a fool, but I think it would be a mistake to replace her with someone less "divisive."

The Leader of the House should be willing to hold Bush accountable -- and seriously look into impeachment -- or they are not doing their job.

MC

Beacon Opinion said...

That should read "Dean was not only attacked for his fiery rheotric."

Jeff said...

To me, the word "partisan" is purely an external classification. One's personal politics can never be "partisan", in that all politicians deep down simply want what they feel is best for the country (or their own self-interest in the most cynical of cases). Therefore, deeming when the word is applicable is all about the rhetoric.

When I see people like Dean, I never EVER hear them talk about anything aside from criticism of their political opponents. Even on the Daily Show, when Jon Stewart tried his damndest to pry anything out of Dean that involved some semblence of original, unreactionary thought; he got nada. All it was was Bush this and Bush that. If the Democratic party doesn't get it's act together and stop framing itself around Bush, it isn't going to garner much faith, even from those of us who openly disagree with almost all of the Administration's policies.

I really wish Wes Clark had won the nomination in 2004, he did a good job actually talking about what he planned to do and how he planned to do it. He just wasn't "electable" (aka showy) enough. It seems like the military dems (i.e. Jim Webb) are the least partisan and most practical of the party right now. They're like Colin Powell is to the Republicans.

Patrick Boyle said...

Jeff,

Good point, but I already made it. As I said, the fact that Iraq was originally a part of the war on terror is questionable. I don't think anyone disagrees that the goals in Afghanistan were clearer.

What I said was, it is clear NOW that Iraq is the central fight in this war, whatever it may be. Al Queda is centered here. There are terrorist attacks daily (or we need a sit down to discuss whether they are "terrorist" attacks? Are we all comfortable with that phrase?).

I'll say this one more time. The reason I find Pelosi's statements idiotic are not because I disagree that the reasons for going into Afghanistan were more sound than Iraq. It's because she says that Afghanistan is still today a part of the war on terror, while Iraq TODAY (not three years ago, today) is still not.

Patrick Boyle said...

Mike,

Interesting that you would say Pelosi is definitely not "too liberal" or "extreme" but still seek evidence of her voting record.

I think we have to make a distintion here when we talk about liberalism. Is Pelosi too liberal for Mike (and to be honest, I don't really know what that would even consist of) or is she too liberal for most Americans? Two very different things.

Now I know you feel that that left-wing Democrats are demonized due to a well orchestrated right-wing campaign that's been decades in the making. And it's correct that liberalism has only recently become a dirty word. But it can't really be argued, except perhaps by liberals in denial, that Pelosi's beliefs are further to the left than almost everyone outside her district.

She doesn't supporting banning partial birth abortion, which almost all Americans do. (I'm not going to get into the discussion over that right now, I'm merely saying Pelosi is outside the mainsteam.) Supports race preference in college admissions. Supported a constitutional amendment for equal rights by gender (okay, I don't really get this one). Voted no on making death penalty appeals harder. Yes on needle exchange and medical marijuana. 84 million in grants to "black and hispanic" colleges. She's very liberal on immigration, taxes, welfare programs.

Now I think you know reading through all those issues that I don't disagree with her on every one. But reading through her list of positions, I literally could not find one conservative position, or one that was moderate in the least. I mean, at least Harry Reid is pro-life.

Should that person represent the party? And Mike, if she weren't "too liberal" for most Americans, her face wouldn't be plastered on every Republican ad right now.

Patrick Boyle said...

Well put, Jeff.

Michael Corcoran said...

You are not entirely wrong here, but there are a couple of things to consider:

1) THe Democrats as the minority party have to play defesne. They have no chance of implementing legislation-- at least not legislation they would like--and must counter the the proposals of the Bush admistration.

It is true, however, that it is much easier to write about what is wrong, than to write about vision -- and it is true of people of all political stripes.

2) Dean has had his visionary moments. His 50-State strategy was a bold move-- a smart move -- and so far has proved wise. (And he was expressed a very measured anaysis of why it is important to reach out to voters in conservative districts--hardly a partisan move-- to the dismay of the Rahm Emanuels of the world.

And while the Democrats, like all politicians, relies of meaningless platitudes that say nothing (we need to work for 'real change' for example, which means nothing, I would argue that in the meaningless slogan department, the Republicans are in the lead -- and in the lead by a long shot.