Monday, April 09, 2007

Pelosi's First 100 Days

Pelosi seems to be getting a pass on lots of things that her Repub predecessors weren't. This article seems to cheer her on, and only give her a little down play.

Let's start with the cheers:
She grabbed the gavel amid a swarm of children, casting a warm, motherly image. Then she used that hammer to relentlessly drive legislation for the next three months, reminding observers of nothing so much as the brass-knuckled Republicans who came before her.

"She looks a lot like the Republican speakers who preceded her, like Newt Gingrich or Denny Hastert," said Julian Zelizer, a congressional historian at Boston University. "She's a deal-maker and a tough party leader."

But Zelizer and some Republicans who thought she'd quickly fail say there's a difference. She hasn't overreached, the way Gingrich did in 1995.

Motherly image? Right. She is more of a brass-knuckler that they are will to admit and that is a complete denial that that is the type of person that gets to the speaker's position in Congress. As for overreach, just give her time. I don't believe that that position isn't a perfect platform for overreach.
People close to her during her ascent say she made her own breaks, right down to the iconic image of bringing her grandchildren and a swarm of other kids onto the podium when she grabbed the gavel on Jan. 4.
Does anyone that reaches the Speakers position get there on anything but their own breaks? They are all in-fighters of the political pit. She's just trying to make herself out as a kinder gentler version. Don't be fooled by that act of surrounding herself with her grandchildren, it isn't an indicator that she doesn't draw the knives when she isn't getting her way.

Then the downs:
One of her first decisions, to back Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.) for majority leader, was nearly a disaster when Murtha's reputation as one of the most corrupt politicians in Congress was highlighted in the press after she had promised the most honest government in history.

She backed Murtha out of loyalty to a close friend, and although she lobbied for him, she didn't go to the mat, allowing Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer to get the No. 2 slot.

The article then completely ignores other related issues that would never have been ignored for a Repub Speaker. Those little ethical issues. Proposing ethically challenged reps for seats on sensitive committees and ignoring that their ethical issues were known isn't exactly the most clever.

The article also seems to give Pelosi a pass on the other ethics issue of pork reform. Remember those promises, so easily forgotten from the last election? Maybe it's just that she's been so busy bulldozing the anti-war resolutions around that she's decided those can wait until she can use all that pork spending to buy the votes that she needs. Certainly no sign of change as of yet. Especially since the earmark reforms that have been put in place are merely the same graft hidden in a different way.
She made another gaffe last week, when she stepped on the international stage with a trip to Israel and Syria that President Bush criticized. It got worse when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared to imply she botched a message from him to Syrian leader Bashar Assad. The Washington Post editorialized she mounted a "foolish" attempt to build a "shadow presidency."
I agree with WaPo on this one. She's reaching somewhere she has no business to be. I'm sure she'll get accolades from her constituency on this one.
Amid all the bluster, Pelosi drove through the House an impressive array of bills, many that will likely be signed into law by Bush.

They include a new minimum wage, cutting college tuition loan rates in half, implementing the rest of the 9/11 commission recommendations and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

Her tensest moment, however, has been the vote to set a deadline for pulling combat troops from Iraq, an issue that almost split conservative and liberal Democrats.

"There were lots of meetings. There was lots of whip counting," said her spokesman Drew Hammill, referring to the push to keep members in line.

Oh how wonderful. She's pushed in more half-assed changes from the 9/11 commission and is trying to be the one to stop the war. Both are great indications of someone that doesn't have a clue about security and the concept of defense in depth. Put up big walls around the country, but don't do anything to ensure that the enemy is eliminated elsewhere. But then, it's more likely that if the US gets attacked again, it will be Bush's fault. Pelosi and her Dems don't seem to want to take any responsibility, though they are very willing to stick their thumbs into the pie.

The article gives her very good grades in the end. Personally, I think she was at least two letter grades below those given on most of the topics. And as for the A- on legislation, I'd think that is closer to the D level myself.

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