Let the evidence show that Nancy Pelosi has been an absolute disaster at everything that she has done as speaker, with the possible exception of shifting the blame on to other people. In fact she has probably been one of the worst in history.
When she first took over the speaker’s gavel, Ms Pelosi called herself “The Most Powerful Woman in the World,” but she did not use her POWER to do that could help us avoid the financial mess. And she had plenty of time. But Nancy continues to get a free pass even though she has presided over a disaster:
Ms. Pelosi likes to thunder against “the failures of eight years of the Bush economic policies.” The stock market has collapsed, she hisses, “because of a Republican philosophy of greed, deregulation, and tax cuts.” But almost the entire decline in the economy has come since she picked up the Speaker’s gavel. The stock market has decisively voted thumbs-down on the Pelosi paradigm, with the Dow falling from 12,157 in November 2006 to 8,600 today.
And it’s not just the stock market that has imploded. Let’s consider the gale of destruction since the Pelosi era began. The folks at Americans for Tax Reform helped me compile some of this unhappy economic data. The night of the Democratic landslide election of 2006, the net worth of the country was roughly $50 trillion. Now it’s at least $6 trillion lower. For the massive 100-million-strong American investor class Pelosi-economics is looking like a boarded-up home in foreclosure. Nor have workers fared much better. Democrats promised jobs and pay raises, but the unemployment rate has climbed steadily from 4.5% to 6.7%. The misery index (inflation plus the unemployment rate) has nearly doubled during Ms. Pelosi’s watch.
Through it all, through the bad and worse times during the past two years, Pelosi has blamed everything on the President Bush and the Republicans in congress. She has refused to consult with the opposing party on legislation and has made no effort to reach out to other opinions.
President Obama keeps Crowing about his “out reach” to the Congressional Republicans. But before he crows any more maybe he should sell his Bi-Partisan approach to the Speaker of the House:
‘I am the Speaker of the House’
By: Glenn Thrush and John Bresnahan
When the book is written on Nancy Pelosi’s reign as speaker of the House, the thinnest chapter just might turn out to be: “Bipartisanship and the 111th Congress.”
To hear her aides and associates tell it, Pelosi entered last week on her best bipartisan behavior, hoping that billions in tax cuts would be enough to lure six to 10 Republican House members to vote for the $819 billion stimulus plan.
To Republicans, it was a typical Pelosi pose — and they accused her of ramming one of the biggest spending bills in history down their throats while scaling back President Barack Obama’s tax-cut proposal to fund 40 years’ worth of liberal wish-list items.
In the end, the GOP unleashed a Rush-and-Drudge media campaign on funding for contraceptives and resodding of the National Mall tucked into the package — and Pelosi was genuinely surprised that every single Republican House member voted against it.
As a result, the speaker’s public commitment to bipartisanship may quickly yield to a depressingly familiar pattern of partisan combat that comes along with her new role as Obama’s human shield.
None of this was entirely unexpected, but the window of opportunity is closing fast for Republicans. And a handful of Democrats who defied her on the stimulus, especially Reps. Paul E. Kanjorksi of Pennsylvania and Heath Shuler of North Carolina, may also find themselves shut out, Pelosi associates and Democratic aides tell Politico.
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“I think the take-away here is ‘screw ’em,’” half-joked a House Democratic aide.
“Remember, you have a speaker who has dealt with that for a couple years. She dealt with it as minority leader, she dealt with it as speaker [under President George W. Bush],” another staffer close to Pelosi said.
“What she realized with Obama coming in was that, yeah, we can go through this dance, but at the end of the day, this was going to be a tutorial for the Obama folks,” the person added. “They’re all going to vote against you and then come to your cocktail party that night.”
At the moment, targeting Pelosi and pulling punches with Obama is a simple matter of math for House Republicans. The new president’s approval ratings are in the 65 to 75 percent range; Pelosi’s are frozen at around 40 percent.
“Obama is at 70 [percent], we’re at 30 [percent],” noted a top Senate Democratic aide, referring to the even lower approval rating the Congress gets as a whole. “Of course they’re going to drive a wedge between us.”
GOP leaders have other more substantive reasons to prefer Obama over Pelosi. She is much less supportive of tax cuts, persuading Obama to scale back his original tax cut plan from more than $300 billion to around $275 billion. And she’s signaled she might push back if the White House insists on allowing the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the wealthy to expire at the end of 2010, instead of repealing them sooner.
“The president’s call for bipartisanship has been completely ignored by the House Democrats,” the No. 3 ranking Republican in the House, Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, told the Washington Post shortly before the stimulus vote.
Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), perhaps the most aggressive partisan in the Republican caucus, has portrayed the unanimous “no” vote as a blow against an imperial and unresponsive majority.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, arguably the most conservative member of the upper hamber, expressed a more visceral sentiment, rallying the faithful in the manner of former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson, who used to bellow “How about those Cowboys?” after Dallas wins.
“How about those House Republicans?” DeMint told a group of the like-minded at the Heritage Foundation last week.
Still, there’s a serious potential downside to the strategy. Senior Democratic aides say they’ll hammer away on the notion that the GOP, led by Rush Limbaugh, is essentially banking on the failure of the stimulus — and Republicans will be “pushed further into the minority” if the program actually succeeds.
The GOP bluster hasn’t carried through on other, lower-profile votes.
Last month, 40 Republicans bucked party leadership to vote with the Democratic majority in expanding the popular federal children’s health program — and a similar number rejected Texas Republican Randy Neugebauer’s Tuesday amendment striking everything but tax cuts from the stimulus.
Moreover, some Republican members have hinted they’d be willing to support the stimulus when an amended version bounces back from the Senate, perhaps with an extension of middle-income exemptions to the alternative minimum tax.
For her part, Pelosi has publicly embraced the role as Obama’s besieged field general on the Hill, even if a little resentment leeched through after a week of absorbing the attacks that would have been aimed at a less popular president.
One metaphor-mixing aide said Pelosi has become the “whipping horse for Obama, she’s taken all the punches on this, when [Republicans] aren’t going to vote with Obama in a million years.”
Another staffer, another mixed metaphor about Pelosi’s self-sacrifice: “She’s willing to take a bullet for [Obama]. … And the White House was perfectly willing to let her take all the hits.”
Yet for Pelosi, last week’s victory was a sweet one. She was clearly delighted in her comfortable margin of victory and even a little tickled by Republicans’ inability to change the outcome despite their unanimous opposition. The speaker was in a jubilant mood late on the morning after the vote, and echoes of applause, mixed with cheering, reverberated from her office into the Capitol Rotunda.
But there were hints of pique. Pelosi cut off a reporter at her weekly press availability when asked about the role Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh played in her stimulus-week demonization.
“I am the speaker of the House. I don’t get into that,” she said, waving a dismissive hand.
“I didn’t come here to be partisan, I didn’t come here to be bipartisan,” she added. “I came here, as did my colleagues, to be nonpartisan, to work for the American people, to do what is in their interest.”
Responding to claims that she shut Republicans out of the real decision making in the process, she shot back: “We reached out to the Republicans all along the way, and they know it. And they know it. … They just didn’t have the ideas that had the support of the majority of the people in the Congress.”
Pelosi, people familiar with the situation say, is also peeved at some of her own Democratic staffers, including Appropriations Committee bill drafters, for not “scrubbing” out funding for controversial family planning programs, the mall grass, and preventive programs for sexually transmitted diseases.
Those programs spawned a damaging barrage of talk-radio and Internet attacks that undermined the Pelosi-creates-jobs message her communications team had hoped to portray during the week. Shortly before the vote, Pelosi, at the urging of the White House, plucked out the family planning and contraceptive funding.
And her communications team, which had been urged to keep their public pronouncements “positive” and focused on the package’s potential to create or save more than 3 million jobs, was forced to issue a new set of defensive talking points criticizing the GOP for obstructionism.
Moreover, Pelosi took careful note of the 11 Democrats who voted no, particularly Shuler and Kanjorski, whose narrow victory in November came after a big push by the Pelosi-allied Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
“Oh, she’s not going to forget that one,” said a Pelosi confidant of Kanjorski’s vote.