Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 30, 2008
By: Neil Sinhababu

PELOSI FOREVER!....It's good to see Nancy Pelosi get some positive coverage. I wish the article went into more detail on what's probably the grandest achievement of her political career to date -- holding the Democratic caucus together to destroy Bush's Social Security Privatization initiative in 2005.

Of the 200+ Democrats in the House, only one defected to Bush's side. Without bipartisan cover on an issue where Democrats have historically had the most credibility, and without enough Democratic support to make up for differences within the GOP caucus on how to make the finances work out (higher taxes? more debt? benefit cuts?) the Republicans simply couldn't get a plan through. Social Security was saved.

That was the point when I regained my optimism about the Democratic Party. Pelosi wouldn't do on Social Security what her predecessor, Dick Gephardt, had done on the war -- get bullied into supporting disastrous policies by an overconfident president. (Harry Reid, for his part, did a similarly good job in the Senate.) Pelosi and Reid dealt George Bush the most devastating legislative defeat a president has had since the failure of the Clinton health care plan in 1994.

So when 2009 comes around and it's time to pass health care reform and whatever other domestic policy initiatives we want, we can be confident that the House side of the game will be in good hands.

Neil Sinhababu 2:44 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Naive, not much else to say.

Posted by: Matt on May 30, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

I agree. She got a tremendous amount of shit from the wack end of the Democratic side for her refusal to do impeachment. I believe that history will impeach Bush for us, and her refusal to subject the US will be seen as restoring impeachment to its traditional role as a remedy for HIGH CRIMES, not just for fucking interns. And, yes, I believe that we could have impeached Bush, but never convicted him.

Posted by: POed Lib on May 30, 2008 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Well, if that is her high point, then "Impeachment is off the table" has got to be her low point.

It will be interesting to see what happens next year- overall, I have been extremely disappointed with our two leaders- If ever there was a time in history that our nation needed courageous congressional leadership to stand up for the constitution, it is now. Sadly, we have two inside the beltway, old guard, comity preserving back scratchers whose plan to stay in power is to keep a low profile and to try not to tick off too many people. The upcoming election seems to be focusing them a bit (yea, no sell-out on telcom immunity yet), but their continued timidity and cowardice is hugely inappropriate at this instance in time.

Posted by: on May 30, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Neil, you should be careful. Overconfidence often leads to defeat.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 30, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

@POed Lib: I agree. There's a real strong movement (even outside of her district, see the large movie marquee that went up in Oakland attacking her) in Northern California to bring Pelosi down. I don't think (having living in SF and Oakland, this is from experience) that people there really understand how much she's done. Or how Washington and Congress works. And that she's there because she can do the job, negotiate the game and keep everyone in line -- not to just advance the interests of her constituents. But she is benefiting California, and the Bay Area, and no angry leftist nut is going to be able to do that. Leave that for the Berkeley City Council, please.

Posted by: Christopher on May 30, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Wack end Democrats understand what it means to take an oath to uphold the US Constitution. Rep. Pelosi does not. Vote for Cindy Sheehan.

Posted by: Brojo on May 30, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

It seems that the Democratic caucus never learned from that experience. When you have the numbers, always fight and win. It doesn't matter if the pundits say that you're on the wrong side at the start; people side with a winner.

That GOP jerk that told Ron Suskind that the Bush administration made its own reality was talking about that effect. Democrats can appreciate reality, will have better policies, and won't destroy the country. People will rally behind the Democratic caucus on any issue, from ending the war to imprisoning members of the Bush administration. But Democrats have to fight.

Posted by: rk on May 30, 2008 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody deserves to be called "whack end" for wanting Bush to be impeached and tried for all the wrongdoing he's perpetrated in office. Nor does Pelosi deserve to be called spineless for not pursuing it.

Clearly, Pelosi decided that pursuing impeachment without the votes to convict would be a big political mistake.

The article emphasizes that Pelosi learned from her father, a Baltimore pol, to always "count the votes", and to do nothing without the votes.

Posted by: Doctor Jay on May 30, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

I believe that history will impeach Bush for us
No doubt, but Pelosi could have saved a lot of lives by doing it sooner.

Posted by: thersites the whack-end democrat on May 30, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

So, concern about the Constitution being used as toilet paper is "wack end".

I guess I'm "wack end" for being serious about an oath I took once to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic.

Posted by: Apprentice to Darth Holden on May 30, 2008 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Passing a resolution for impeachment in the House takes a majority vote. Actually convicting Bush would take a 2/3 vote in the Senate. While Bush absolutely deserves to be dragged from office in chains, it would have achieved nothing positive and probably done much harm to the Democratic Party and the nation to have impeached him in the House and then acquitted him in the Senate.

The thing I hate worst about Bush is that he has exposed the dirty little secret of our constitutional form of government -- that if the President has the backing of 34 Senators who will support him in all things, he has all the powers of a dictator from some third-world banana republic. I take solace in the fact that (a) Bush cannot pardon himself for war crimes, (b) even if he could, such a pardon would have no effect on foreign powers such as the World Court, and (c) even if Bush escapes punishment for his crimes in this world, I believe that there is a God, that He is just, and that George Bush's place in Hell is already prepared.

Posted by: Alan on May 30, 2008 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

She is the right woman at the right time. And one reason I am confident about the dem presidential primary being settled in good order.

Posted by: Northern Observer on May 30, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Bunch of whiners. Nancy Pelosi is the best House Speaker since Tip O'Neil. I'll bet not many of you Cindy Sheehan supporters have any memory of that do you?

Sheehan is a one trick pony and you suggest there's any movement to move Pelosi out for Cindi? Morons.

I'd love to have impeached bush43, but if the votes weren't there, and they weren't...the Senate Republicans would never vote against a Republican President, then the whole effort is a waste and Democrats wouldn't win as big at the ballot box as we will in 11/08.

btw - Berekely is now governed by homeowners. They aren't as liberal as they were in the 70's.

Posted by: kindness on May 30, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Protest People are more interested in being Protest People than in the consequences of their actions, Alan. I say this as someone who would have dearly loved to see Bush impeached.

Posted by: joe from Lowell on May 30, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

The argument for Pelosi and the House not voting for impeachment is defensible, even if I disagree. The argument for not ending funding of the occupation of Iraq is not. Whether W. Bush is held responsible in this world or not for the invasion of Iraq, it will not bring back the Iraqis killed by Americans after January 2007, when the new Democratic Congressional majority gained the power to stop it.

Posted by: Brojo on May 30, 2008 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'd have to agree with the anti-Sheehan crowd. Replacing your speaker with a neophyte isn't exactly a sign of political strength. That being said, running an oposition party is very different from building successful momentum for passing major legislation. See Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

We'll see.

Posted by: Mark R. on May 30, 2008 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

The decision to impeach or not is arguable, but in my opinion for Pelosi to declare from the outset that "impeachment is not on the table" was indefensible.

Posted by: thersites the whack-end democrat on May 30, 2008 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

impeachment is off the table....

Posted by: bad moon on May 30, 2008 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

"impeachment is not on the table" was indefensible - Thersites.

Well maybe Pelosi had met Blue Girl's cat. No one likes cats on their table, it isn't good hygiene.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 30, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Weenie, I've never been able to keep a cat of the damn table. How do you do it?

Posted by: thersites on May 30, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with the posters such as Brojo above: compromise in politics is not acceptable. Politics is about making dreams come true, not recognizing reality.

Vote for Cindy Sheehan and Ralph Nader.

Posted by: mint_tea on May 30, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

Weenie, I've never been able to keep a cat of the damn table. How do you do it? - Thersites

Easy, keep the dog on the table.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 30, 2008 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

And I have no doubt that Cindy Sheehan's legislative skills will astound us all. A good heart is all it takes to get things done in Congress. It's like falling off a log, really.

Posted by: mint_tea on May 30, 2008 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you mint_tea! I can now go home and chuckle all weekend.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 30, 2008 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

mint_tea, please explain how Rep. Pelosi's first pronouncement as the new Speaker that impeachment was off the table was a compromise and what that concession obtained.

If Pelosi had traded impeachment for the withdrawal from Iraq, for example, I think most wack end Democrats would have understood such a compromise and applauded it.

Posted by: Brojo on May 30, 2008 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Darn! I thought we were talking about weekend democrats! I have to be a liberal during the week, too?

Posted by: thersites on May 30, 2008 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

"We can't impeach him, because we might not get the votes in the House and we'd never get the votes in the Senate, and the attempt would just turn too many of the American public against us as the Republicans showed us in the 1990's." -- That is a handwringing statement.

"Impeachment is off the table." -- That is a strong, assertive statement.

Both describe the same state of affairs.

Posted by: on May 30, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

While I agree that Rep. Pelosi has been much better than many give her credit for, she has still fallen short on the most important role the House of Representatives has: controlling an out-of-control Executive. Whether she had the votes or not, no politician should throw away the best card in her hand in such a manner. And it obviously was one that the Republicans were extremely worried about - how many times was Pelosi asked about impeachment prior to the Democrats taking control of the House? - every time she was interviewed!
It's true it takes 67 votes in the Senate to convict, but it only takes a simple majority in the House to initiate impeachment proceedings/investigations. And while those investigations are going on, the President does NOT have the power to pardon ANYONE involved in the impeachment proceedings. That would ensure that there wouldn't be anyone in the present administration that would be willing to take a hit for the President - unable to issue pardons, he wouldn't be able to protect them.
Nor would the MSM have been able to side with the Republicans as usual, especially as witness after witness either laid out the criminal activity that has occurred or else pleaded the Fifth to keep from incriminating themselves. I don't think even Fox could have spun that in Bush's favor.
I give her a C+.

Posted by: Doug on May 30, 2008 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Cindy Sheehan may not have great legislative skills, but she has better organizing skills than almost anyone else involved in the anti-war movement. Those organizing skills could very well become legislative. Cindy Sheehan has also been a greater antagonist to the president than any official of the Democratic Party will ever be.

Cindy Sheehan has become a great American. I read Mr. Sinhababu has a high regard for Rep. Pelosi, but Pelosi will never become the woman Cindy Sheehan has.

Posted by: Brojo on May 30, 2008 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

Why must we push for impeachment? I am no fan of the idiots in charge but impeachment is a dead end. The Democrats could impeach in the House but don't have the votes to remove Dubya in the Senate. Don't you folks remember the Clinton impeachment trial?

Posted by: John on May 30, 2008 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

Nan @ 1-202-225-0100 tell her about it.

Posted by: Mike Meyer on May 30, 2008 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

Ignoring all this rambling about impeachment, I obviously agree with you that Pelosi is great.

The article itself though is pretty bad. Very little new information, and most of the quotes are the fluffy sort of stuff you could get said about anyone.

The most annoying aspect of the article was "most people underestimated her because she was a woman. But she out-politicked them and won.", well how? If everyone disrespects you, then what are you organizing? What exactly was it that got her a leg up?

Posted by: Shock Mouse on May 30, 2008 at 8:39 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, and I also found it incredibly amusing that a Hillary advisor (anonymously) claimed that Pelosi just wanted to be "the most senior skirt in the land". In terms of low-grade sexism, that blows away anything the Obama campaign has said.

Sadly, only a conservative blog has picked this up.


Posted by: Shock Mouse on May 30, 2008 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Cindy Sheehan was a great person while she was focusing on the war ... then got in over her head; stating that the WTC collapse was "controlled demolition", and she became the story, not her son. Eventually the publicity - like it has to many, many others - got the best of her.

Posted by: Ed Tracey on May 30, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

IMPEACH! Selling out JUSTICE for politics never has worked, never will. The investigations alone will bring forth enough rage and shock to get the Senate votes. (just because they are Republicans doesn't mean they aren't AMERICANS)

Posted by: Mike Meyer on May 30, 2008 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

It took me a long time to recognize the good works of Ms. Sheehan. Originally I blamed her for raising a son who would obey a monster like W. Bush and go to Iraq and kill on command. Her commitment to opposing the war and all she has accomplished to bring attention to it has changed my mind. I now realize she was a mom who did the best she could, and since doing the best she could to end the occupation exceeds what anyone else has done, she must have been a pretty good mother. The resilience of mothers to overcome their grief of a child's death in war to confront the killers and suffer public ignominy is something one could not imagine Rep. Pelosi doing, but that was how I felt about Cindy. I want Rep. Pelosi to be as strong as Ms. Sheehan.

Posted by: Brojo on May 31, 2008 at 4:08 AM | PERMALINK

I want Pelosi out of there - immediately. She has shirked her Constitutional duty to hold the Executive branch accountable for their misdeeds. She needs to be removed from office. Harry Reid too. Period.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 31, 2008 at 6:42 AM | PERMALINK

This article is absolutely right, except that "making the finances work" is far easier than it appears. The "trouble" that Social Security faces--as I make clear in my new book SECURING AMERICA'S FUTURE--is more propaganda than reality (Medicare, of course, is another matter--that's why we need universal single-payer).

Posted by: Max J. Skidmore on May 31, 2008 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

Pelosi is a typical Italian grandma who knows babies and defers to a man like Bush when it comes to funding wars and such. She knows her role is submission and obedience to Republicans, who are real men.

Posted by: Luther on June 2, 2008 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

mint_tea has no answer to my queries about why Pelosi conceded impeachment to W. Bush, what that concession earned, nor was able to counter the argument Sheehan's organizing skills matched Pelosi's legislative skills, which are also in doubt because of the lack of actual good works Pelosi has guided through the legislature.

Dreams like ending the occupation of Iraq, providing universal health care and reducing the imperial use of the military have been acheived in other democracies. The impediment to achieving such dreams in the US is because of the lack of support by platitude-challenged moderates for candidates who would make such dreams national priorities.

Posted by: Brojo on June 2, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK



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