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Pelosi: from Frisco, not of it

By Owen Paine on Tuesday January 24, 2006 12:43 PM

So what's Nan's secret desire -- personal power or war's end?

Do you have to ask?

Here's some highlights from a Valentine spread in yesterday's LA Times:

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nancy Pelosi is explaining the ways of Washington... "You have to understand, Washington is a secret-sauce town."
... Which is Nancy's
... way of disdaining those who profess to know the perfect ingredient for political success.... [yet] Pelosi... insists she knows the recipe for winning back the House in November: "It's one good month in front of another. Beat Social Security. Make sure the world knows what's happening -- ethically. Attract the candidates. Raise the money. Build the unity for our message."
In other words, it's entirely a technical matter -- a matter of knowing how to work the myriad delicate levers of the marvelous American political machine.
A flashpoint came last month... Pelosi seconded a proposal by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.
Most beltway pros' verdict: bad... politics. According to a "nonpartisan analyst"[!],
"Politically speaking, the president was bleeding profusely from an open wound... To effectively move the spotlight from a place that was horrendous for the president to a question on which there is no public consensus..."
... was a huge blunder on Nan's part.

Behind the steely smile, Nan appears to agree.

"I think the attention is very much there with George Bush," she said, adding that her support for Murtha was a personal endorsement and not a statement of the party's position. "you don't do that on a question of war... that's a completely individual decision."
Well, Nan gets results:
Congressional Quarterly reports that in 2005, Democrats were more unified than at any time in the past half century ... 88% of the time, compared with the Republicans' 90%.

Pelosi [is] a combination den mother, — perennially reaching out to members to hear their concerns — and strict disciplinarian, cracking down on those deemed less than team players.

Tranlsation: when your team can't win the big game anyway, post votes are free. After all, the Pelosi strategy of deniable collusion only requires her to give the Republicans enough votes to cover their own occasional defectors.

We get one grandstand moment:

Pelosi allies happily publicized [her threat] to remove Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns of New York from a prized seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee after he defected on a pair of high-profile votes."
The LA Times puff piece doesn't say this, but Towns' defections were on the bankruptcy bill -- a classic piece of Pelosi screw-the-public bipartisanship.

Meanwhile, back in the district -- how's it going?

She represents one of the most liberal cities in America -- she has been picketed in San Francisco for being insufficiently antiwar.
The fools! The fanatics! The... ingrates! After all, Madame Denmother is just working
to broaden Democrats' national appeal.... by embracing... deficit reduction and veterans affairs. "She's shown a recognition of the need for a party with a big tent and diversity," [says] Tim Roemer, former Indiana congressman and more moderate Democrat, urged by Pelosi to run for chairman of the national party despite their differences on abortion
Emphasis mine, of course. Y'all remember, don't you, how every two years the Democrats come to us with exactly two things to sell -- well, maybe one and a half: abortion and the Supreme Court.

Of course the big split in the party is

...among those... who believe that Democrats should act to end the war and those who prefer to attack Bush in hopes that voters will take out their frustrations on Republicans.
Nan's answer, as above: each member is free to choose, avoiding
"the already sticky wicket of the war [becoming] a Venus' flytrap."
Translation: if the party doesn't take a position on the war, we can have it both ways. We can talk war to the war junkies and peace to the peaceniks. This is the classic Democratic straddle.

"No one Democrat "fits perfectly in every single congressional district like Cinderella's slipper," says Roemer.

Well, fair enough. You folks in Frisco -- how do you find that your "peace now" slipper fits on the wide square foot of Nan "you CAN have it both ways" Pelosi?

Kick her out, Friscoites. Whoever she's representing, it's not you.

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