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July 30, 2008
Nancy Pelosi outplatitudes Obama in New York
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered a talk on Tuesday afternoon to a largely (90%) female -- and probably Democratic -- audience of admirers at the 92nd Street YMHA-YWHA in New York. Ms. Pelosi came to the 92nd Street Y to promote her new book, "Know Your Power: A Message to America's Daughters -- and to talk about politics, not necessarily in that order.
Ms. Pelosi's most notable statements included a response to an audience question, in which she stated she was not interested in accepting the nomination as Barack Obama's Vice Presidential running mate. She stated her current job put her in charge of things and she didn't want to take a "number two" position, understandably.
Another notable statement included her listing a group of Democratic policies, ending with energy independence, then saying "We (the Democrats) are in the lead in all these areas." No mention was made of opposition to drilling offshore and blocking a bill coming to a vote on the floor of the House. Or the 18% positive - 77% negative national approval ratings in the AP-Ipsos Poll, along with other polls' similar results.
Another striking statement Ms. Pelosi made was her statement that "terrorism hadn't been there (in Iraq) before the US entered the country. This statement is highly problematic, given the evidence of rape rooms, people thrown into wood chippers, Saddam's financing of $25,000 for each family of someone who blew themselves up in Israel or Gaza. But Ms. Pelosi wasn't taking questions directly from the floor and the few she answered were capable of being screened for whatever standard her handlers and admirers wanted.
The most striking statement was one Speaker Pelosi made near the end. During her discussion of infrastructure building and government projects going back to Thomas Jefferson and FDR, she stated, "Why don't we spend on infrastructure (and healthcare) what we spend in Iraq?" As partisan as I am, I believe a fairly accurate conclusion one could draw from this remark was that she wanted to take the entire budget spent in Iraq (minus some addition of forces in Afghanistan) and spend it on domestic programs. This was clearly the implication of her remarks.
Preceding this statement, Ms. Pelosi had discussed healthcare and wanting to implement a national system which did not get a lot of applause in that largely Democratic audience, perhaps owing to the fact that some in the audience were the from the families of physicians and also that knowledge of Canadians coming to America for treatment is fairly well known in New York. Ms. Pelosi stated her belief in alternative programs, something that was not advocated in the original HillaryCare program, by stating "Think diet, not diabetes" and another slogan of "science, science, science."
That last statement about diabetes may look good on a bumper sticker, but someone should perhaps inform "Dr. Pelosi" that the millions of people suffering from diabetes can ill afford to treat their condition with diet alone. As for science finding a cure for all diabetes -- and all fuel/energy problems, perhaps all that may happen one day, but one has to deal with the present situation more so than investing in future sources. Her statement here on diabetes implies that government sponsored research -- and not any tax breaks for private research -- should be the main area of concentration.
When someone from the audience asked Speaker Pelosi about the short and long term effects of bringing the troops home from Iraq (which her inability to do she considers her "biggest failure"), she stated the previously mentioned "terrorism hadn't been there before" and that a US troop withdrawal "will bring stability to the region." I'm sure Iranian President Amadinjad would approve -- and see to that new "stability."
Up to this point, she had not mentioned the Surge, but in then discussing the death toll in Iraq, Pelosi said that 1100 servicepeople were killed since the Surge began. This was said in a tone as if those were large numbers in warfare. While I wouldn't want to knock on the door of a dead soldier's family and attempt to inform them that the loss of their loved one was "only a light casualty figure," these are small percentage figures compared to battle deaths in World War II or Vietnam. While I agree each death is a great loss, until the entire world changes in nature, "there will be wars and rumors of wars."
Ms. Pelosi, earlier in the talk, spoke of her first visit to the Bush White House as Democratic Whip (in 2002). She stated that President Bush was gracious, then made a condescending sound. And she mentioned that she envisioned all the early Suffragettes sitting in the chair with her, one telling her that women had "arrived at the table." "And then they were gone," Ms. Pelosi said. The audience appreciated these remarks of how far women have come in the legislative process in America.
At the beginning of her talk, Ms. Pelosi said that she saw her entry into politics, from volunteer to candidate as an extension of her role as a woman. "Public policy is an extension of taking care of children," she stated. While this statement has some validity in dealing with issues related to directly to children, there is a darker and condescending side to these words, namely that she considers everyone outside of Congress as a child that needs to be lead. I suspect that any number of voters are fully capable of managing both their personal and political affairs as well -- or better -- than Ms. Pelosi.
I didn't stay around for a book purchase and signing.
Jack Kemp is not the politician of the same name.