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Good for her! UPDATE

No slinking away. Nancy Pelosi has announced she will run for House minority leader. She did a terrific job as majority leader. She's smart and she can count votes.She is likely to win. http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/11/pelosi-to-run-for-minority-leader.php?ref=fpblgAnd here: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/05/pelosi-says-she-wants-to-stay-on-as-house-democratic-leader/?hpDavid Gibson posted this below in the comments: WashPost Karen Tumulty on the positives and negatives of Pelosi from inside the beltway--worth a read: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/11/AR2010111106262.html?hpid=topnews

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So, wait, you want to "do in" a pro-life Democrat, Heath Shuler, in his efforts to replace the pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi?

The shadow oligarchs, who made Nancy the target of many attack ads -speaking of her in angry and drogatory ways , will roll out more dinero during the rump session and in january to continue the targeting.Such is the sad state of our democracy where respectful partisanship slips away and, as was noted elsewhere, srvice to the people is secondary to obtaining power.

Heath Shuler wouldn't get the job.

She can count votes, but now she won't have to count as high, so her job should be easier.

Your sneering comments are getting tiresome, Mark Proska.

She is not an attractive personality and, like it or not, an enormous political liability for the Democrats. Her continuation in a visible leadership position would be a huge mistake.

GOOD FOR HER!What a great woman. What an inspiration to all. Steadfast, courageous, forthright.(Happy Guy Fawkes Day!)

Former and future speakers of the House have continued in their leadership positions after their party lost its majority, as long as they could count on member support. I'm referring to the years before 1955 when parties exchanged places regularly, and we seem to be in a similar cycle now. I would say that Speaker Pelosi did a credible job furthering the people's business under very difficult circumstances.

Nancy Pelosi is a great woman and a courageous leader - gutsy, loyal, feminine and true to her principles. There would have been no health care reform without her tenacity and spirited leadership.

Sam Rayburn served as House Speaker 3 times following the loss of his job twice due to Republican takeover of that august body:1940-19451949-19511955-1961Sister Nancys just getting a good start. You go, gurrl!

A candidate who respects our fundamental Right to Life endowed to us from God and God's intention for Marriage and The Family would be Good for all of us.

Holloway is right on.. Now that the Republicans have the House majority,can we expect no more abortions after Feb 1 2011.?. Nancy Pelosi got the Stupak amendments passed so there would be no Federal funding for abortions and the start of heath care for 40 million. . Pro-life Stupak resigned and Pelosi, my congresswoman, is an Italian Catholic grandmother with a conservative back round yet is still held up as a raging lefty by the ill informed. What are the Republicans going to do about abortions and Jobs.?. Nada.. They think the 2% of the rich getting a big tax cut, at the deficit expense, will bring in jobs. Ha..Even Whitman fired her housekeeper so there is ground to make up. Buying Hampton LI homes [no new ones are being made], buying Mercedes and BMWs does not bring in American jobs. Wall Street laughs at the Tea Partiers.

E. J. Dionne interviews Pelosi here: http://commonwealmagazine.org/minority-report-1

It's up the House Democratic caucus to decide whether they would be best served keeping Pelosi on as leader. There's certainly precedent for doing so, as Jimmy Mac notes (there are other examples). Still, it's a fair question that they have to ask themselves whether Pelosi really optimizes their chances of regaining the majority, or indeed achieving their legislative objectives in the coming congress. So many Democrats in this campaign seemed eager to...disavow her.But given that the caucus is much more liberal now with the loss of most of the swing districts, I expect she'll be voted back in.But I'm astonished that Catholics should be so eager to see Pelosi in leadership. We can quibble about the records of pro-life Democrats like Reid or Stupak, but there is at least the sense that an affirmation of life is being sought in some tangible way. We can likewise quibble about the Stupak Amendment which Pelosi (reluctantly) allowed to come to a vote. Pelosi, however, is as staunchly anti-life as they come in Congress. She has a 100% rating for NARAL. She has voted against every restriction on abortion and in favor of embryonic stem cell research, and for government funding for both at every turn. Planned Parenthood has even given her its "Champion of Women's Health" award. And given that she in an avowed Catholic, the resulting scandal is that much graver. Her achievement of other legislative objectives, however, worthy, cannot really offset that in a Catholic moral calculus.

I'm more ambivalent about the prospect of Speaker Pelosi continuing on as the Democratic Leader in the House, and I'm certainly more reticent to describe her recent tenure as "terrific," per the original post. Republicans are far superior at whipping their membership into line on any given major legislative endeavor; a distinction due in no small part to the fact that their base is far less fractious than that of the Dems. The Democratic Party as it currently exists is a fictitious monolith; it is at best a begrudging coalition of narrow, single-interest factions (unions, environmentalists, womens' groups, foreign policy types of a certain bent, etc.) whose larger domestic priorities do not nearly so neatly overlap as do those of the Republicans. With the disclaimer that I do not pretend to possess an intimate first-hand familiarity with Speaker Pelosi's strategies and machinations behind closed doors, it seems to me that she did a competent--but not "terrific"--job at herding the proverbial cats that constitute her Congressional membership on healthcare, financial reform, and Waxman-Markey but part of me wonders if the outcome could have been accelerated, and perhaps the substantive content improved, if a more capable individual were at the reins. (Despite my immense admiration for our President, I think perhaps, in his desire to let Congressional Dems be in the driver's seat on healthcare, he may have been slightly too restrained when it came to exercising leadership on this and other policy efforts.) I believe Speaker Pelosi is intelligent, able, and, so far as I can tell, of considerable personal integrity. I'm also not convinced she should continue on as the Dems' leader right now.

"Another first: Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female ex-speaker of the House."

My final comments on this:the sad poltical divide in this country ic clealry evident in the posts here.Talking about moral calculus, I just got a mesage from our state office on aging to expect in the new Martinez regime that the cabinet position on aging wil probably be folded in to a larger administrative position.the expectation of maintaining direct senior services including vital transportation, meals and services to maintain fragile seniors at home, a significant number of whom are poor in this state, will be in jepopardy.But those are not (for some) "life" issues - in fact it seems there's only one. Instead of taking seriously a bipartisan attempt to fix Medicare/Social security, etc. we'll see the continued push to expand the wealth of oligarchs at the cost to the poor, justified as caring for "our" grandchildren.If you saw Andy Card waxing on about this on CNN - forget the bipartisan commission - the new tsunami in Congress will have their own brilliant plan.There's litlte I or any of us can do, it sems, about to cthe current political divide, bu tI hav ea hard time listening to the "Catholic" justifications of the tea party politicos.

Ditto, Bob. Just as bread and circuses distracted our ancient counterparts from what their rulers were really up to, so the one issue serves the same purpose today. The antipathy to the old will be given free rein now. I wonder which of the Speakers who preceded Nancy Pelosi were "pro-life" and which were "anti-life". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Speakers_of_the_United_States_House...

My vote is that Nancy will do better before Jesus than the phony pro life leaders who use this issue as a political football. Many presidents have tried to enact health care legislation and this president would not have done it without Nancy.A woman with moral fiber. Too much to take for all those who prefer the tax cut for the rich over health care for the middle class. History will be good to her. Not so with so many American bishops who lost their moral fiber.

The Democratic party has been purged of their lukewarm congresslosers thanks to the Tea party. In the House, Dems should re-elect Pelosi as minority leader, pass tax relief for the 98%, pass the end of dontaskdonttell, all during the lame duck session. Let the Repubs in the Senate filibuster all thru Christmas and let the yokels see who they elected. The Dems should declare political war on Republicans and take no prisoners for two years. Just as the Repubs declared war on Obama..The yokels will nominate Palin in 2012 primaries and lose big time in the general election

Hello Gerelyn,Just as bread and circuses distracted our ancient counterparts from what their rulers were really up to, so the one issue serves the same purpose today. The antipathy to the old will be given free rein now.With respect, over a million lives (and more overseas whose elimination we are helping to fund) snuffed out each year is far more than...a distraction. This is life and death, not bread and circuses. The cynicism of some (not all, but some) of t'other party's leaders in exploiting this issue for electoral gain does not absolve adamantly, genuinely pro-abortion pols (some of which are also GOP) from their own culpability, no matter how good they might be on other issues. All the other rights or advantages do not matter if you are not alive to enjoy them.I wonder which of the Speakers who preceded Nancy Pelosi were pro-life and which were anti-life.Less than we'd like.But it's always been tough finding a good fit for Catholic values. There is no Catholic (or call it Christian Democrat) Party. I think it would be remarkable how successful the Democrats would be among Catholics if they could just embrace life - on abortion, euthanasia, ESCR. There are more than a few who reluctantly vote GOP because of this issue, but find it an awkward fit otherwise. Alas, many Democrats will vote for Pelosi in some measure precisely because she has been such a staunch defender of abortion rights. On this, as on so many other issues, she has been a very effective legislative leader.

Mrs. Steinfels--I'm sorry you found my comment sneeringly tiresome, I actually meant it as light-heartedly humorous. I can't help but wonder if you would have thought the comment sneering if the object were, say, Sarah Palin, instead of Nancy Pelosi. For what it's worth, I wish Nancy Pelosi well in her bid to become minority leader. I hope she holds that post for a long, long time--at least 2 more face lifts.

"The Democratic Party as it currently exists is a fictitious monolith; it is at best a begrudging coalition of narrow, single-interest factions (unions, environmentalists, womens groups, foreign policy types of a certain bent, etc.) whose larger domestic priorities do not nearly so neatly overlap as do those of the Republicans.:"Michael Bayer --Interesting comment. It seems to me that if either party is a single-issue one it is the GOP -- it mainly represents the interests of business, and the interests of big business in particular almost always win out. Why do you think that people with different but non-compatible interests can't be unified in a single party? As I see it, the Democratic Party for all its faults it does manage to represent a far larger group of people than the Republican Party does. And what's wrong with interest groups as such? Just because their priorities differ that does not imply that more than one constituency can't be satisfied at one time. I'm curious -- what do you see as the predominant interest groups of the Republican Party? I see them largely as business interest groups which too often makes them positively anti-labor. While there are some anti-abortion interest groups which gives a lot of money to the GOP candidates, we just saw how much support the they gave to the pro-life Democrats, so one must wonder about the real motivation of some of them anyway. Do you see PACs as interest groups? I do, and they're practically all for the sake of business interests. Not that I"m anti-business as such, especially small businesses. But the financial interests (investment banks, Wall Street, even the neighborhood bankers) ran this economy into the ground in its pursuit of greed, a pursuit mainly made possible by the Republicans repealing the act which regulated those industries so successfully for many years. In other words, which are the interest groups which dominate Republican congresses besides the business ones? Or do you think that Republican politicians don't vote for the hands that feed them?

It seems to me that the most pressing issue in U.S. politics today is getthing representatives of the two parties to agree to work for the good of the country. I didn't see much in the way Pelosi exercised her authority as Speaker to suggest that she's going to be much interested in bi-partisans cooperation. She's not alone in being partisan, of course, but why place any great hope in her.

Fake Catholics still abound a commonweal I see. Nancy Peliosi has aided and abetted in million abortions through her legistlation. She should quit and repent live a life of penance before it too late.

Fr. Komonchak, please tell us why you think that Sen. McConnell or Rep. Boehner are goingto be interested in bi-partisan cooperation?

I wish E.J. Dionne had asked Speaker Pelosi to give her take on the defeat of so many pro-life Democrats in the election.

Oops -- "noncompatible interests" should have been "compatible interests", and "pursuit of greed" should have been "pursuit of money".

Ann,You seem to have missed my point entirely. I'll let my previous post stand. All the best, MB.

This just gets better and better.Were I a progressive I would be looking to the future, not rewarding her for the past. Does she really think she is the best person to lead them to victory? She is the most disliked politician in the country - even more disliked than Dick Cheney ever was. So is this about her party or about her? I for one wish her a very long reign as dem leader.Ann,You say - "But the financial interests (investment banks, Wall Street, even the neighborhood bankers) ran this economy into the ground in its pursuit of greed, a pursuit mainly made possible by the Republicans repealing the act which regulated those industries so successfully for many years."Nice slogan, but where's the proof? Every, and I mean every, piece of deregulation over the past 30 years has been bi-partisan, and a lot of it was Democratic sponsored. If you want an example of someone who almost always sides with banks, look no further than the stalwart progressive Barney Frank. Moreover, how is more regulation going to fix a problem that was caused in part by the failure to enforce the regulations we already had?

On the one hand you have the new majority leader saying that US health care is number 1, and then you have the academics saying it is 49th because you let your seniors die.Who is right? who is really pro life?http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN0622294120101007

I'm pretty damn sick of seeing Kristen Wiig's impression of her, so if Pelosi gets benched? Worth it.

I think it would be just terrific if Nancy Pelosi, a woman and a Roman Catholic, remains in a visible leadership position. I respect Demoocrats who actually behave like Democrats; we neede more like her.

Mr. Dauenhauer: Your wrote: "Fr. Komonchak, please tell us why you think that Sen. McConnell or Rep. Boehner are going to be interested in bi-partisan cooperation?"I don't know why you think I might think that; I said nothing to suggest that either McConnell or Boehner is going to be interested in bi-partisan cooperation. Perhaps you could tell me why you think Pelosi will be, and why I should not take your comment as indicative of the sad state of political conversation in the country today.

"gutsy, loyal, feminine and true to her principles"Not sure why femininity is listed among the traits that made Pelosi a good speaker, and I don't think they really helped. In the end, she was no less a lightning rod than Bella Abzug, who was all of those things, except for the feminine part.Just sayin'.The thing I liked best about Pelosi during this whole political campaign was that Diane Sawyer tried REALLY hard to make her cry, and Pelosi didn't fall for it. As opposed to Boehner, who so impressed himself with his own hard luck story that he was moved to tears. Not that we haven't seen Joe Biden do something similar.

Joe,The more important question is whether the president is willing to engage in some horse-trading to get things done. By large margins, the American public expects him to. They don't seem as convinced that Republicans will be willing to compromise. Pelosi is a deal-maker. So is Boehner. The problem for him is that he has to deal with Tea Party fundraisers. I recommend Bill Galston's piece here: http://www.tnr.com/blog/william-galston/78752/american-support-political...

Fr. Komonchak, in my view Nancy Pelosi has an admirable record of working for social justice. Is she a candidate for canonization? No. Has she been an effective leader during the past two years on health care, financial regulation, and other important issues? Yes. Has she been unfairly demonized by Republican smear campaigns? I certainly think so. Has any republican leader or candidate for leadership shown a comparable concern for social justice? I may be wrong, but not to my knowledge.In that context and in the context of this thread, you singled her out for your criticism. So may I ask you again. What do you think of the Republican Congressional leadership as a model for what this country needs now.As for how you should take my comments, that's of course up to you.

"Nice slogan, but wheres the proof? Every, and I mean every, piece of deregulation over the past 30 years has been bi-partisan, and a lot of it was Democratic sponsored. If you want an example of someone who almost always sides with banks, look no further than the stalwart progressive Barney Frank. Moreover, how is more regulation going to fix a problem that was caused in part by the failure to enforce the regulations we already had?"Sean --The Glass-Seagall Act was for generations the Democratic lynchpin of financial regulation. There were recessions like this one while it was in force. It was repealed by the mainly Republican House and President, but not one Senator voted to repeal it. Since then Gramm-Frank Act was a Republican substitute, and -- look around you -- this is a dreadful economic situation. Now we have a Volker Act, a Democratic substitution, and a compromise. Volker himself thinks it's too soft. WE'll see.Those conservatives with romantic ideas of free enterprise need to take Marx a bit more seriously. Marx was the first to see clearly that capital is what makes the business world go round, which, of course, you conservatives also see. But he also saw that if capital is not distributed across the economic system, the system doesn't work then either. His solution to mal-distribution (his brand to socialism) didn't work. Our only alternative seems to be stringent regulation of the financial institutions, but you're right -- if the regulations aren't enforced the system won't work. My main point is that Democrats are better at regulation than the Republicans. (Since most Republicans have laissez-faire inclinations, it could hardly be otherwise.) The evidence is that under the Democrats we didn't have a recession like this. But the Republican administrations, with some help from Bill Clinton, gave us this one. It's up to you to prove otherwise. Try the new little Skidelsky book about Keynes. It might help open your eyes, if, that is, you're willing to really look at the other side with the very cold eye that seeing the ugly facts requires.

Oops -- should have been "there were NO recessions like this one while the Democrats were in power".

In my original post, thinking of Republicans, I said that Pelosi is not alone in being a partisan, but it's that fact about her that keeps me from seeing great promise with regard to what the country most needs. I wasn't commenting on any other aspect or element.

Ann- I think a lot of Democratic Senators ultimately signed on to Financial Modernization. I believe my own Senator Schumer voted for it (I never forgave him, and never voted for him again!). Dorgan and Wellstone and half a dozen others voted against it, but a lot of Democrats signed on. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/11/glass-steagall-act-the-se_n_201.... I also agree with Sean that the mess we're in now is not just because of bad legislation, but because of regulatory failure. For the last decade, there hasn't been much meaningful bank regulation at all; what's the use of strong laws if no one's bothering to enforce them?

I don't want to push a fight, but let me say a word about "bipartisan cooperation." Like gene McCarraher and others, I believe there has been "bipartisan cooperation" in neglecting the poor, in playing games with immigration, in being unwilling to face up to the health needs of our poorest citizens, in favoring the wealthy in taxes, etc. What we now hear from the Republican leadership is that their terms for bipartisan cooperation are more of the same. From her record, i believe that Pelosi will do her very best to prevent the Republican version of bipartisanship undoing what meager steps toward social justice be undone. Bipartisanship for the sake of bipartisanship has nothing to do with justice.

Bipartnership for the sake of justice, on the other hand, is a worthy goal.

The problem, I think, is that it takes two to tango, as they say, and Democrats have not had any dance partners for a long time. The question of bipartisanship is best posed to Republicans, then you can see what there is to work with.

That was my point, David: two to tango.

Two to tango, yes. From one of the potential dance partners:http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/01/23/obama-to-gop-i-won/http://www.y..., anyone?

MP: jejune!

Ann,What about the recession of 79-82? I know we keep talking about this as the "Great" Recession, but unemployment was higher, and more importantly inflation was through the roof. Remember 18% mortgages? Gas lines?What does it mean to be better at regulation anyway? More regulation doesn't mean better regulation - especially when it's unenforceable and drives poor economic choices.

Joe, I don't understand your point -- if the GOP isn't a willing partner, what is gained by dumping Pelosi?

Sean --The OPEC problem was in 1973. There was a recession starting in 1980, but unemployment went only to 9%, or so I find at Wikipedia. Whose figures are you using?

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.