Dissecting Pelosi

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had some interesting things to say at a recent (4/8/2011) visit to Tufts University. She commented on voting & elections and gave some advice to her Republican colleagues:

Nancy Pelosi

Ms. Pelosi, shortly before becoming House Minority Leader

“Let’s just try to do what is right for our country. I would hope, I think that President Obama is what is right for our country. But, if you have a different view, try to make sure that the values that I’m sure we all share are reflected in the choice that you make. Another way I would say it is, ‘To my Republican friend: Take back your party, so that it doesn’t matter so much who wins the election; because we have shared values about, again, the education, about children, the growth of our economy, how we defend our country, have security and civil liberties, how we respect our seniors.’ Because there are so many things at risk right now,… but the fact is is that elections shouldn’t matter as much as they do. [There] should be someplace on the spectrum where we respect each others’ views and all the rest. But when it comes to a place where there doesn’t seem to be shared values, then that can be problematic for the country, as I think you can see right now.”

Listening to her, it all seems so benign and reasonable on the face of it. But, what’s beyond the surface? I thought it might be good to examine what she said a chunk at a time. So, let’s go…

“Let’s just try to do what is right for our country. I would hope, I think that President Obama is what is right for our country. But, if you have a different view, try to make sure that the values that I’m sure we all share are reflected in the choice that you make.”

I’m sure we would all agree with that first sentence. (The second one, not so much.) And, I am hoping that by “right for our country” she means not what is just pragmatically good for a socio-political agenda but what is morally correct, as well. I also agree that our values should be reflected in the choices we make. My worldview and associated value system informs the way I think and vote, and that is in a way that generally goes against what someone like Pelosi is trying to push. In fact, what I have seen from policies & legislation promoted by Ms. Pelosi and her colleagues on the Left are not what is “good” and “right” either from a pragmatic or moral standpoint for this nation and her people. From gun control to Obamacare, it’s more about “look good / feel good” and “look right / sound right” with them.

“Another way I would say it is, ‘To my Republican friend: Take back your party, so that it doesn’t matter so much who wins the election; because we have shared values about, again, the education, about children, the growth of our economy, how we defend our country, have security and civil liberties, how we respect our seniors.'”

She has Republican friends?! Okay, maybe.

I am assuming the “take back your party” is a reference to the growing influence of the TEA Party. It’s not surprising that this bothers Pelosi. She would be much more comfortable to see the Republican Party return to shifting leftward toward the center. A few more moderates and centrists/liberal Republicans like Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Scott Brown (R-MA), Representative Mike Castle (R-DE), and former Florida Governor Charlie Crist would likely please Pelosi immensely, because they often vote with Democrats. Then, it truly wouldn’t matter who wins the election, if the political Left was always in power with support from RINOs.

voting booth

As for shared values, I think what she says here is… inaccurate. Liberals and Conservatives alike value the things she listed, among others. That is, we all think they are important. We have this in common. But, we do not share the same values, because not only do we sometimes have different priorities, we almost always have different opinions — based on social, political, economic, religious, and philosophical ideologies — about how things should be done. That’s the nature of the game, and our political system was designed to make sure everyone, to some degree, got their say, directly and/or by representative. And, for the most part, the majority wins. (Within certain balances, of course.) It’s not perfect, but it’s the best one out there.

“Because there are so many things at risk right now,… but the fact is is that elections shouldn’t matter as much as they do.”

I don’t know that there is any more at risk now than before, but certainly many things have escalated or are coming to a head (e.g., gross government overspending and general economic crisis, Middle East tensions, terrorism and rogue nations, etc.) such that they all weigh heavily on our minds.

I’m not really sure what to think about “elections shouldn’t matter as much as they do.” Certainly, they matter immensely, as the constitutionally-given method for peaceful regime change in our nation. And, Pelosi certainly has thought elections mattered in the past, when her side won. But, if the Republican party shifted toward the center, as suggested above, then elections would, in some sense, not “matter” as much.

I wonder how Ms. Pelosi would feel if one of her Republican “friends” made overtures to Blue Dogs and other Democrats — and I’m sure this sort of thing does go on — to move to the center and “work with us, so we can make some real progress,” or some such thing? Would she be willing to compromise her values to such a degree?

“[There] should be someplace on the spectrum where we respect each others’ views and all the rest. But when it comes to a place where there doesn’t seem to be shared values, then that can be problematic for the country, as I think you can see right now.”

Nice thought, but how much does she respect others’ views? In fact, I see no reason why people should respect others’ views. That’s too “politically correct” for me. Respect other people, yes. Respect certain offices, positions, and institutions, certainly. But, we should be and are free to have no respect for a particular view or position if we think it has little-to-no redeeming value. I can tolerate it (in the original meaning of the word), and I’ll defend my opponent’s right to hold it, but I don’t have to respect it or consider it “equal” to other ideas.

"Say No To Socialism" patchGoing back to what Pelosi said earlier, I would counter that she needs to “take back” her party from the radical Left, Progressive crowd, who are shifting the Democratic Party more and more toward Socialism (and, from there, naturally to Communism), which is inherently “unAmerican”. Of course, this will never happen, because Pelosi is one of the leaders of that far Left crowd. In fact, maybe what she was hinting at by her remarks about elections is that she would much prefer that “the People” abdicate their rights to vote and just hand over full reins to the Progressive elites. After all, in her mind, they are the ones who really know what is best for us all.

But, if the power structure within the Democratic Party did shift back toward the center, such that there was at least a common respect for the U.S. Constitution and our founding principles and an acknowledged duty to protect and defend them, then maybe more truly bipartisan solutions could be hammered out and some real progress made in making our great nation strong and healthy once again.

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