Beating up Nancy Pelosi


Apparently feisty and fighting women enrage the GOP and their corporate sponsors. That's one conclusion to be drawn by reports that more money was spent, and more commercials aired, attacking the first woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, than any other congressional leader - ever.

From January through November's Election Day, more than $65 million was spent on 161,203 ads smearing Madam Speaker, according to a CNN-sponsored study. The money came from GOP candidate's campaigns, the Republican Party and so-called independent groups that supported the Republicans. The huge amount of cash that flooded into the midterm election campaign from corporate and other elite coffers were largely afforded secrecy by the recent Supreme Court Citizens United decision.

But anti-Pelosi ads really started in the spring of 2009 with the launch of the GOP's "Pussy Galore" smear. After Pelosi said the CIA misled congressional leaders (actually she said they lied) on torture and water-boarding interrogation techniques, the Republicans quickly scurried at the chance of vilifying Pelosi. They ran an ad equating Pelosi with a female criminal from Ian Fleming's James Bond series vulgarly named "Pussy Galore." Ms. Galore may have been the mildest and earliest Republican ejaculations. "Bitch," "hag," and "Wicked Witch" were to follow.

Pelosi's polling numbers, along with Congress as a whole - and the GOP's - plummeted. And the woman who was a chief architect of the Democrats winning in 2006 became a pariah for many. Being a woman from San Francisco (insert the coded words and images here) in the age of divisive tea party politics became the main narrative, and too many voters bought it.

Despite it all Pelosi proved to be a most effective House Speaker, moving and passing legislation that had stymied previous Congresses and administrations. Her tenacious leadership on health insurance reform changed the course of that struggle from hopelessness to hope and victory.

Many credit her skill and leadership in passing legislation that saved and created jobs (obviously not enough), invested in infrastructure and green jobs, curbed Wall Street and saved the U.S. auto industry.

But tradition's chains bind many in Washington. After the defeat of so many Democrats during the midterms, the scuttlebutt was Pelosi would fade into history and do the gentlemanly thing and give up her hard-won leadership stripes to a more GOP-appeasing group of Dems.

Pelosi had something else in mind and announced she would run for House Minority Leader. Preparing for a big fight on job creation, taxes, Social Security, Medicare, Wall Street and insurance reform, Pelosi chose to tough it out and in the words of AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka continue to be a "tireless champion for working families,"  a "consensus and coalition" builder.

So far, there is no Democratic opponent to Pelosi's bid. But there has been talk about conservative Democrat Heath Shuler of North Carolina making a run, and other centrists like Reps. Mike Quigley of Illinois and Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania are voicing "discomfort" about Pelosi's bid.

Labor unions, progressive Democrats and other groups are launching a Thank Nancy Pelosi campaign, urging voters to tell Democratic congresspeople that Pelosi was an effective Speaker, and will be just as effective as an opposition leader. After all, they say, she "mans up."

Photo: Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other House Democratic women Members hold a press conference to urge Senate Republicans to stop blocking job creation legislation, June 24, 2010. (Speaker Pelosi)


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  • Americans not only want Jobs, they want jobs which pays the rent, and other essentials. This has never been tried-Its about time!

    How among us grew up saying I want to be paid less than the cost of rent and other essentials of life? Not many if any. Yet, using the point where all of life’s indispensable’s goods are paid for, where we break through the real poverty level of life we are at "a livable wage."

    The US Dept of Labor admits only 30% of all American worker are paid a livable wage. That means at least 70+% of all America’s are in poverty.

    It is TIME that we unlock human potential.

    "If we recognize the radiance in others that radiance multiplies."
    "If we see only the Flaws in others, those flaws in them, and ourselves, those flaws also grows."

    Posted by Jan LightfootLane, 11/15/2010 10:36am (5 years ago)

  • Heath Schuler has been hinting very broadly, and loudly, that he wants to replace Cong. Pelosi as minority leader.
    This would be a bad mistake, for many reasons. But particularly in relation to immigrants' rights, Schuler has been one of the worst Democrats on the subject, and has been the chief sponsor of several of the worst anti-immigrant bills. Pelosi, on the otherhand, has shown much greater sympathy for the plight of immigrant families, and understanding of the need for comprehensive change.

    Posted by Emile Schepers, 11/12/2010 10:20pm (5 years ago)

  • I think Nancy Pelosi is doing exactly the right thing in seeking to become Minority Leader. As Albano points out, Pelosi did a terrific job as speaker, getting many key bills through the House to move President Obama's agenda forward, in the face of constant GOP obstruction. Her leadership skills and fighting spirit are just what's needed under the new more difficult conditions.

    Posted by Marilyn Bechtel, 11/12/2010 4:12pm (5 years ago)

  • Nancy Pelosi is still a part of the problem. She is a corporate stooge, dishonest and supports the military-industrial complex.

    The CPUSA line of anti-republican instead of PRO-the people isn't helping. We need to be anti-the problem and pro-solution. Neither dems or repubs represent the solution...

    Posted by Jeff, 11/11/2010 4:33pm (5 years ago)

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