Pelosi For the Win

Pelosi For the Win November 20, 2011

I’ve never been a big fan of Nancy Pelosi. I have little use for her or any of the Democratic leadership (or Republican leadership for that matter) in Washington. But you have to give her props for this brilliant answer to being challenged to a debate by Rick Perry:

“Monday I’m going to be in Portland in the morning. I’m going to be visiting some of our labs in California in the afternoon. That’s two,” Pelosi told reporters. “I can’t remember what the third thing is I’m going to be doing.”

She should have added “oops” at the end.

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  • Michael Heath

    In defense of Nancy Pelosi.

    I thought as Speaker she was brilliant at managing the process of bringing votes to the floor, both in terms of timing and whipping votes. Like all Speakers she was a typical partisan-friendly Speaker on many issues, especially in her first session as Speaker when George W. Bush was president. This had her not wasting time on big issues which couldn’t pass the Senate and president in spite of our pressing concern they get address.

    One example of her succeeding in stopping a bad bill was how she brought the hammer down on her party to vote the caucus party line in an effort to stop President Bush’s initiative to let Wall Street pillage the Social Security trust fund. Mr. Bush’s initiative would have social security payers would be paying hefty fees to Wall Street firms while incurring far more risk for a miniscule chance of a slightly higher rate of return. However the list of moderate/anti-conservative bills which passed the House as well as the Senate and president’s office was impressive even during Bush’s last two years. That also helped set the stage for the 2009/2010 Congress to focus on big things as Democrats bet they’d enjoy majorities in both chambers and have a Democratic president.

    I thought she especially distinguished herself as a great Speaker when it came to getting bills passed which I thought were clearly in the country’s best interests which were not favored by liberals or conservatives. In honor of liberals, many joined her in spite of having to vote for non-liberal bills, e.g., passing TARP, Obamacare without a public option.

    Unfortunately Rep. Pelosi is as ignorant as her conservative colleagues on the Constitution along with being ignorant of the best policy arguments as understood by experts. I cringe every time she speaks about such matters, even when my position is equivalent. Her argument is one based on ignorance and pretty soundbites which either don’t sufficiently apply to the matter or don’t sufficiently address the core issues. Perhaps one of the worst examples was her arguing we have a right to healthcare where she framed it as a negative (inalienable, reserved) right by referencing the DofI rather than making a case for gov’t subsidized healthcare as smart policy in the nation’s economic interests.

    I appreciate each Congress-person will bring their own talents and specialities to the Congress, that’s a good thing. We should acknowledge she excelled at one of the primary responsibilities of being Speaker – whipping votes and setting the agenda. However I think we should also demand all members of Congress have at least an elementary understanding of history, economics, science, and what experts think about the big issues – best arguments for and against along with other worthy considerations. On a normative standard Rep. Pelosi fails miserably, she’s simply not well-read nor has she thought deeply about these issues. It’d be easier to condemn her and others more vociferously for this lack of education if our system didn’t force them to spend an inordinate amount of time campaigning for money which only the rare talents can minimize, e.g., Barack Obama, Henry Waxman (the latter also largely helped by the demography of his district). We should want our congressional representatives studying, not begging for money.

  • CSB

    These Rick Perry jokes are never going to go away. Twenty years from now we’ll still be running that moment into the ground. It will be remembered as a failure on par with New Coke, the Walter Mondale campaign, and…um…what was it…EPA?

  • Stevarious

    However I think we should also demand all members of Congress have at least an elementary understanding of history, economics, science, and what experts think about the big issues

    That would be pretty difficult, considering that one party seems to be making it a major plank of rejecting what the experts think out of hand and remaining as ignorant as possible about all those subjects.

  • LightningRose

    Only slightly off topic:

    On today’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour”, Paul Krugman said the following:

    “Newt Gingrich is a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.”

    We laughed so hard and long that we missed the rest of the discussion.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Michael Heath @ # 1: … [Pelosi] excelled at one of the primary responsibilities of being Speaker – whipping votes and setting the agenda.

    Which makes it even more inexcusable that she refused to do her clear Constitutional duty when confronted with overflowing evidence of impeachable “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the Bush-Cheney White House.

  • Michael Heath

    Lightning Rose quoting Paul Krugman:

    “Newt Gingrich is a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.”

    Funny but I don’t think it’s an accurate observation. Mr. Gingrich does appear intelligent to other intelligent people who are not sufficiently informed and don’t sufficiently follow him to realize his behavioral patterns. Especially those who have only encountered him going off on domestic policy issues given that prior to the debates he was careful to categorize the topics upon which he expounded in certain venues. So business-people who don’t follow the culture wars never encountered him (or now Herman Cain) going off on culture war issues.

    So I agree with Paul Krugman for those who are well-informed like Mr. Krugman obviously is. Mr. Gingrich is an obvious demagogue and buffoonish blowhard; but that’s not easy to discern for those who only mildly follow politics through business-centric media broadcasters.

    My context here is that most business people and their media are economic illiterates, even those with business degrees. So they don’t know realize that tax cuts didn’t lead to economic or job growth while it did lead to an erosion of our meritocracy and increasing income disparities.

    I think this is one of the more interesting and disconcerting observations I encounter – i.e., that business media and their followers are so misinformed and uninformed on basic economics and its findings. That’s fresh meat for a guy like Newt Gingrich. I know a lot of high-income earners who are clueless regarding the responsibilities of the Fed (low inflation with low unemployment), how to parse out fiscal policies from Fed policies – and that they can work together and whose responsible and has power for each lever, what policies have and haven’t worked in the past, and general stats relevant to the economy – like the trend in tax revenue relative to GDP with decreasing growth rates and lengthening recoveries starting in the 1990s.

  • bad Jim

    Michael Heath, surely you know this famous quote from Keynes:

    “Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.”

  • d cwilson

    Newt Gingrich got a reputation as a deep thinker because of his ability to spout out a constant flow of ideas. That 99% of his ideas are truly horrendous never seems to bother most people.

  • Stevarious

    “Newt Gingrich is a stupid person’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.”

    The problem is that all the REAL smart people keep telling them that they are wrong! Newt tells em that they are right all the time – right about a 6000 year old earth, right about woman being less than people, right about everything!