Nancy Pelosi would like to be the new minority leader in the 112th Congress. If any of the ragtag remainders of what used to be the Democratic Party’s congressional majority want help deciding whether to keep her in charge of their broken wing of government, I suggest they refer to an oft-quoted political catchphrase from the ’80s, and “just say no.”
First of all, it’s evident who the big winners were in last week’s election: the late night talk hosts and Comedy Central. The new array of jokers that got elected last week will provide an abundant source of material for at least two years — and considering whom the Democrats deem their leadership, probably longer.
As a sidelined hack myself, you’d think I’d get some pretty good chuckles out of the elections too, but I have one thing holding me back from all-out gaffawing: I went to college and grad school to study history. And when I look at our current situation I see at worst Weimar Germany — Hitler was democratically elected, you know. Or at best I see Custer’s last stand — admittedly one of our more memorable leaders who pursued a morally bankrupt agenda and caused the demise of everyone who accompanied him.
And don’t believe the rumbling undercurrents from the new minority party about how they were outspent or outmaneuvered by folks whose rhetoric appealed to a disenchanted electorate.
This is what really happened.
Under Pelosi’s leadership, the Democrats did nothing but compromise regardless of their titanic majorities. The Dems were afraid that unless they betrayed the people who sent them to Washington — and caved in to the opposition — they’d lose the midterm elections. Looks like those lame boys and girls got that backward.
Let’s face it, Pelosi doesn’t understand that advocates for the ordinary man should be content with smaller private jets that have to refuel on taxpayer funded trips to California. Such an enormous void of political acumen proves Pelosi isn’t bright enough for the job.
But it’s worse. Pelosi can’t — or won’t — convince Democratic Party members in Congress to vote for the political agenda of their supporters. Taking the public option in health care off the table proves she isn’t a leader. The last thing Pelosi deserves now, from the panting, straggling remains of her party, is power.
Maybe Pelosi doesn’t know what leader means. To weed out extraneous definitions such as “part of a fishing lure or film reel,” I went to a business dictionary for an answer. Businessdictionary.com says, “Person or thing which holds a dominant position in its field.” Here’s where it gets tricky for the speaker, “and is able to exercise a high degree of control or influence over others.”
If Pelosi influenced her fellow Democrats, it was to collapse their resolve, not to bind them together as a force for change.
Now the numbers in Congress are reversed, but the majority isn’t held by namby-pamby “oh, no, someone might object” Democrats. No no no! The new majority is held by the “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” Republicans. And the saddest thing of all is with Pelosi leading the opposition there won’t be any torpedoes.
Sure, you might think this is sour grapes on my part. You may think that I’m still mad that she refused to move forward on House Resolution 333, the impeachment of Dick Cheney, not to mention the much-needed impeachment of his alleged boss, George W. Bush. I won’t deny that I’m still sore, but it’s actually worse than that. She not only ignored the last administration’s actions that led to the United States’ unprovoked invasion of a foreign country, but Speaker Pelosi also was against enhanced oversight of the war.
The Republican minority and the president wanted a surge in Iraq in 2007. And they mistakenly thought they’d need a bargaining chip to get the Democratic leadership to go along, so they offered to be watched by Congress. But Pelosi never really opposed the president, and he got his surge without the enhanced oversight they had offered. Nancy Pelosi even said we didn’t need monthly reports on the “political, military, and social” implications of the surge.
Only fools would reward such weakness with power.
Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” She may be reached at PatLaMarche@ hotmail.com.