Tuesday, June 26, 2012

“Pelosi – Romney’s [not so] Secret Weapon”

Sydney M. Williams

Thought of the Day
“Pelosi – Romney’s [not so] Secret Weapon”
June 26, 2012

“The gift that keeps on giving.” Thus was described California’s erstwhile Representative, Nancy Pelosi on Chris Wallace’s Fox News Sunday program this past weekend. Ms. Pelosi represents California’s 8th Congressional District, a seat that has been in Democrat’s hands since 1949, so is safe, even for one as incompetent as the present occupant. It seems that every time she opens her mouth Democrats (who don’t care) and the English language (which does) suffer another embarrassment. She has become the Mrs. Malaprop of the United States Congress and, as such, provides an advantage to the more controlled and better-spoken Mr. Romney.

Recently Ms. Pelosi has adopted the notion, now widespread among defensive Democrats, that any contempt charges brought against Attorney General Eric Holder are motivated 1) by racism and 2) as supportive of “voter suppression” laws, a reference to laws that a number of states have passed requiring voter ID cards as a means of countering the proliferating problem of voter fraud. Since a license is needed to drive a car, and an ID is required to buy a beer, board a plane or to enter the hallowed halls of Congress, it doesn’t seem such an inconvenience to require something similar, so that one can exercise the greatest privilege of being a citizen – the right to vote.

Specifically, she said: “They’re going after Eric Holder because he’s supporting measures to overturn voter suppression initiatives in the states…This is no accident, it is no coincidence. It is a plan on the part of Republicans.” That Mr. Holder may be withholding documents never occurred to her. She added, apropos of who knows what and sounding like the mad Red Queen, that she could have arrested Karl Rove, former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff to President Bush. “I could have arrested Karl Rove on any given day. I’m not kidding. There’s a prison here in the Capitol…If we had spotted him in the Capitol, we could have arrested him.” When asked on what grounds she could have him arrested, she confusedly said: “Oh, any number. But there were some specific ones for his being in contempt of Congress. But we didn’t.” Mr. Rove must have felt relieved.

This is the same woman who in 2005, in her role as Speaker of the House (the third most powerful office in the land!) and after promising to lead the most open and bipartisan Congress in history, responded to a reporter’s question: “Why should we put a plan out? Our plan is to stop him. He must be stopped.” She was referring to, of course, President Bush. And she is a moderate according to people in her District!

At some point this week – expectations are that it will be Thursday – the Supreme Court will render its opinion regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA.) No one, other than the Justices and some of those who clerk for them, knows what their decision will be. On both sides, lawyers acknowledge the complexity of the legal questions. Not so the heterophemistic Ms. Pelosi. When the bill was being debated, the then Speaker was asked, by some audacious member of the opposing party: where is it written in the Constitution that Congress has the power to enact a health insurance mandate? Her answer sparkled with intelligence, wit and clarity: “Are you serious? Are you serious?” Yes, Ms. Pelosi, the questioner was serious. To the people of the United States she showed less certitude, while still displaying her notorious ignorance: “But we have to pass this bill [ACA] to see what’s in it.”

As the bill neared passage – a tough call despite Democratic majorities in both Houses – Nancy Pelosi appeared gloating and magnanimous as she told the assembled masses: “I’m confident…I’m hopeful that we’ll have a [healthcare] bill as a Christmas present for the American people.” Thanks, Nancy. We got what we deserved for sending you to Washington.

Mrs. Pelosi, as Speaker of the House and against the wishes of the Bush White House, visited President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. She returned bearing word of his desire for peace. Like Neville Chamberlain in 1938, she reported back in 2007: “We were very pleased with the assurances we received from the president that he was ready to resume the peace process.” One wonders how the families of the estimated 10,000 citizens of Syria that Mr. al-Assad has murdered in the past couple of years must feel.

In December 2010, Nancy Pelosi rebuked Representative Charlie Rangel after he had been formally censured by the House – the first such censure in thirty years. She had promised, upon becoming Speaker, to “drain the [Washington] swamp.” Now, after Mr. Rangel survived a primary bid for a 22nd term, Ms. Pelosi hailed him as a “champion” of the working people. The “swamp” that is Washington just became deeper and darker.

Some of her gaffes are priceless and funny – if they weren’t being uttered by a person in such a powerful position. Ms. Pelosi is estimated to be worth somewhere between $35 million and $50 million; so it is perhaps unsurprising that she once said: “This initiative is funded by the high end – we call it Astroturf. It’s not really a grassroots movement.” Or another, “Unemployment benefits are creating jobs faster than practically any other program.” Or this, in reference to a bill she jammed through a Democratic Congress without one Republican vote: “A bill can be bipartisan without bipartisan votes.”

Nancy Pelosi is far from alone in the ignorance she displays or in the contempt she shows for the intelligence of the American people – perhaps deservedly as we are the people who elected her. Her inability to speak in a straightforward fashion is a mark of her profession. After all, obfuscation is a necessary part of a politician’s curriculum vitae.

This past April, in a delusionary moment, Congress passed a bill creating a commemorative coin honoring the author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. As is well known, Mark Twain held Congress in low regard. Besides the novels on which his fame rests, Mark Twain was also the author of such one-liners as: “Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.” “Fleas can be taught anything that a Congressman can.” “There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” Are you listening, Ms. Pelosi? And finally, “All Congresses and Parliaments have a kindly feeling for idiots, and a compassion for them, on account of personal experience and heredity.” As one wag put it, “Full range loonies can pick pockets and get re-elected.”

Samuel Clemens died in 1910, thirty years before Nancy Pelosi was born, but he must chuckle every time the lady approaches a microphone, knowing that another arrow will be available to his quiver of humor. His disdain for politicians proves as relevant today as it was more than a hundred year ago. For Mitt Romney Ms. Pelosi’s verbal gymnastics provide a weapon of her and her Party’s self-destruction. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck.

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