The Age of Nancy

The speaker of the House is certainly on a run lately. Just look at what she accomplished this week.

Comments: 125

  1. I have tremendous respect for Pelosi because she actually manages to get something done -- something which her male cohorts in the rest of the Democratic party (especially Reid) seem wholly unable to do. This despite the Republicans obstructing EVERY proposed law and conservatives in general taking chauvinistic glee in portraying her as some kind succubus out to steal all American manhood.

    However, I give her credit now. But if the Democrats manage to hold on to the House in the next election (which I'm not convinced that they won't),she better step up her game and not let Democratic senators run rough-shod over her like they have been doing. (Harry Reid has been doing such a poor job, I hope the party re-elects a new leader.)

  2. It could be that Ms. Collins has discovered the most significant reason for all the hatred aimed at Nancy Pelosi from the right: productivity. If you're the Party of No, as in no progress, no work, no legislation, nothing good, nothing at all, and just plain no, what could be more galling than someone who is not only immune to all the barbs and lies, bombast and character assassination from Fox and their many vitriolic hate-filled henchmen on the right, but someone who gets things done? What could be less like the turgid potted plants on the right side of the aisle than someone who actually cares about this country and gets things done?

    Anyone who draws that much enmity from Republicans has to be doing something right.

  3. I'm so glad she's third in the presidential line of succession. One likes to see experience, competency, intelligence, persistence, and heart all down the line. We deserve this after a long, dry eight-year vigil. She has helped to make a lot happen for the good of the commonweal. May she continue to do well. Cheers.

  4. After 30 years of politicking, advocating, and fretting about my country, I now know what it feels like to be well represented in Washington. I must also add that I am proud of my Congress-person. She speaks for me. How many folks in this country can say that.

    A resident of the 94110

  5. When the health care bill passed, I realized for the first time that Nancy Pelosi is a hero. I wasn't sure how she got it done, but she did it. And despite all the noise, hostility, hysteria, and rancor from the right.

    She is a great Speaker and a great humanitarian leader.

  6. For a while this was the great untold story-the success of Pelosi as the U.S.'s first woman speaker. The second most powerful person in this country is a woman. She will go down as the U.S.'s greatest speaker.

  7. As a lifetime Democrat and resident of California, and someone who voted for and supports President Obama, I view Nancy Pelosi as one of the most dangerous people in America.

    She is and represents everything that is wrong in Washington and politics today. She is no different than the worst Republicans on the right who will backbite, smear, intimidate and use her position to her own advantage and to promote her own views, regardless of the greater good.

    We have watched Nancy for years, climb over other's backs, digging those high heels in as she climbs, and using her position in the most partisan, non-productive manner. She is completely out of touch with the mainstream of this country.

    Try to rebuild her image, give her credit for the achievements of our President. It doesn't matter. This is the same person who as the leader of the house fumbled the financial bailout, with a Democratic majority in Congress, and caused the stock market to collapse. The same person who created so much resentment in Congress that the President couldn't get anything done for the first year of his term because she had so badly alienated even those in her own party. The fact is that she has been told by the White House to keep her mouth shut and do as she is told. Now, the work is getting done.

    The Age of Nancy? Let's hope not.

  8. Who cares what the Southern GOP say about her and her "San Francisco values" She is loved and respected locally and she will be re-elected continuously.

    It took her awhile to find her stride as speaker. But, she seems determined to take full advantage of the majority position while it lasts. Taking on corporations, healthcare for all and the military spending will be an ongoing fight. Go Nancy!

  9. Pelosi has actually been very good on ethics.

    Are you kidding me with this line??

    Did you forget about William Jefferson and the bribe money that was in his freezer?? Nancy Pelosi never condemned him.

    Did you forget about Charlie Rangel and his lying on his taxes while he was in charge of writing the tax laws for everyone else? Nancy Pelosi never condemned him and allowed him to keep his chairmanship even though there was a mountain of evidence.

    How about the threats to the Air Force for not having the Gulf Stream available for her weekend trips for her entire family or the fact that she insist on being dropped of basically at her door step at an enormous burden to the tax payers?

    How about the 50 people she allowed to go to the Global Warming Summit in Copenhagen at the tax payer's expense? There were living it up sailors on a weekend pass with 1st class accommodations, fine dining, and all the booze they could drink.

    She's the one that said she was going to drain the swamp and all she's done is feed the alligators.

  10. Count me in! She's terrific. . . but. . . I am constantly disappointed in my female progressive pals who pick at her with petty comments about her hair, her eyes, her "at least a dozen" face lifts, her clothes, her voice. The males think she's "too pushy" and "tries to take over all the time".

    In truth, she's brilliant and focused and beautiful, and a good wife, mother, and grandmother, and she knows how to get things done. Why are people frightened by her? Let's expand upon that: Why are people (male and female) so afraid of powerful women?

  11. Nice article. Could not agree more.

    She has worked hard and she deserves much more respect than she gets, whether or not you agree with individual policy decisions.

    I don't know if people realize how challenging this type of work is, the complexity of the moving pieces, the process of assimilating something that will be workable and that will pass. It takes substantial intellectual depth, in addition to political skills.

  12. I am happy to have the opportunity to voice my gratitude and admiration to the best "speaker of the House" this country has ever had. Despite the brutal, hateful and undeserving personal attacks she has endured, in and out of Congress, she has set an example of grace under pressure which speaks not only to a sense of personal dignity but also to a set of superior values. For Democrats, the passage of Health Care Reform was a seminal moment which set this country on the path of social justice. Of all the great Democrats who had tried and failed, she was the one who succeeded in overcoming the insidious cabal of special interests that had held the congress in the palm of its hand for so long. I love Barack and Hillary, but when the history books are written, Nancy Pelosi may emerge as the most influential Democrat of her time.

  13. I find that no matter what Pelosi or Obama or Reid achieve, the left will question why they have not done more and the right will complain that they are destroying the country. It is as if no one remembers how poorly things were being done just a few years ago. I am thankful for having pragmatic people trying to accomplish the right things in office. Can people not see any difference between 2005-2006 and 2009-2010?

  14. Unfortunately for Madam Pelosi, she is mired inside a system which can no longer save itself. The health and financial reforms are all way too little, far too late. They won't fix things. Nancy's real problem is that whatever her energy, whatever her best intentions, the system she lives in is broken, seriously, and it can't be patched together with the old compromising bills that once sort of worked. As is normal in nature, things get old, worn out, pop at the seams. Whether it is a political system, a culture or a human face. A little plastic surgery nip and tuck might temporarily produce the illusion it's not so, but the grim truth and its reaper are a step away. Nancy, you go girl, but don't delude yourself that these last-minute patches are going to fix anything. They won't.
    We need a radical - that is a "going to the roots" - change in our culture, from how we think about what life is, to the economic system that supports it to the political system that enforces it. Our system no longer works and cannot be made to work as its internal logic is false and lethal.

    www.jonjost.wordpress.com
    www.cinemaelectronica.wordpress.com

  15. I remember when Ms Pelosi first became Speaker, if she was questioned by reporters, she tended to get flustered and tongue-tied. A week or two later and it was noticeable that she had gained in confidence. And, within two months, she could succinctly provide a good assessment of the facts, a clear understanding of the politics involved and a detailed plan for getting each piece of legislation discussed, voted on and passed.

    By now, she seems to be so good at her job, that she's seldom in the news. Time and again I hear President Obama begin a sentence by saying: "The House has passed a good bill, now I hope the Senate will follow that up by ..."

    I'm proud of the way the House is performing its duties. While many of the other branches of government seem to (generally) run in fits and starts, the House quietly goes about its business and provides a steady stream of results.

  16. Why this predilection among conservatives to demonize Pelosi, is not hard to understand. Strong, intellectual people, male or female, just seem to bug the Tea Party types. The George Bushes and Sarah Palins of the world have tried to make intellect and introspection a vice. Most thinking people don't buy that. Unfortunately, most of the far Right seems overly populated with people who don't fall into that category.

  17. Great sense of humor fully on display by Gail Collins

  18. Gail, what manner of spiked Kool-Aid have you been sipping?

    Nancy Pelosi, far from being "on track to be one of the most productive speakers in history", is headed for irrelevance as the Republicans take the House, possibly in November, almost certainly in '12. This is in large part due to the antics of Nancy Pelosi, heading up a gaggle of liberals run amok with the majority power and completely out of step with the priorities of the people who elected them.

    She, like Harry Reid on the Senate side (in desperate trouble himself with the Nevada voters), did this to herself. If the Democrats had focused for the past eighteen months, just as the president should have, on adjusting, even temporarily, the tax and unfunded mandate framework to help small businesses and start-ups to create jobs, rather than on health care reform, cap-and-trade, massive bailouts and apologies for the inability to do what the people primarily elected Barrack Obama to do, which was to get us out of Afghanistan and halt these absurd, pointless wars that cannot be won, then you might reasonably have discussed a possible storied history for the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives.

    Ours is a center-right electorate, finally getting beyond punishing Republicans for Dubya for those wars that he started and for the onset of the Great Recession, which fell during his watch although its underpinnings were set at least as much in the Clinton Administration as in his; and voting their consciences rather than their annoyance. We're in the middle of a seismic re-swing to the political right and, as it is, Ms Pelosi is likely to be relegated to Dubya's "ash bin of history", an historical footnote due to her position and her gender. House members don't elect speakers from among the minority.

    When I think productive speakers, I think Henry Clay. When I think "The Age of Nancy", I think 70 (and counting).

  19. Gail, you, I and most of the NYT readership may see the reality that you have portrayed, but, unfortunately, if political polls and the loquacious input on blogs and media forums have any predictive power, Pelosi will no longer be Speaker next year. Rather, we'll have to grimace and suffer the "wisdom" and policies of John Boehner, while enduring the witch hunts of Darryl Issa as he endlessly subpoenas everyone connected with the Obama administration, a strategy he has already promised. These two years are appently all we get of a political golden age before falling back into darkness. I'm reconciled to accepting that Americans simply do not deserve any better because they are not willing to give themselves any better. We are a people primarily motivated by fear, jealousy and loathing rather than hope, kindness and altruism. It always reverts to this. I've seen too many cycles to be fooled again. It's like Winston said to Julia just as they were accosted by the thought police...

  20. I agree 100%. Nancy is the greatest speaker of the house since Sam Rayburn. She really knows how to get things accomplished, and sincerely believes in using her power for the public good. Obama has been very fortunate to have her as an ally. I am always surprised when she doesn't get the credit, admiration, and respect she is due.

  21. Me too. But it has been no dance (it takes two to Tango), but rather like a "Gunfight at the OK corral". I hope she will still be standing when the smoke finally clears somewhat.

  22. Hear, hear! Pelosi is the most effective speaker the House has had since Sam Rayburn, at least, and maybe before that. Long may she wield her gavel!

  23. "She is the most powerful woman in the country, the most fearless person on Capitol Hill and on track to be one of the most productive speakers in history."

    Yes, she is.

    She is the most powerful woman in the world - the most fearless person in the Capital.

    She is the perfect partner for our young president.

    Power to the pair.

  24. Best of all, she models character so far from that of "the boys."

    Think of it -- all that fraud, corruption, con-gaming, casinoing atop the U.S.'s high finance -- virtually all boys. Can't help themselves. Look at the BP clowns -- again: boys, boys, boys. And the war-mongers, including Peace Prize war-monger prez himself. Can't help themselves.

    Then there's the collection of boys of the far-right-wing, proto-corporate, corporate-"person"-loving Supreme Court. Can't help themselves -- can't imagine any form of humanity other than the de-personalized version that -- let's admit it -- only boys could invent.

    Perhaps the best words to complement yours today on Pelosi come from W.H. Auden -- in his "Moon Landing" poem, where he nabs perfectly the games boys can't help from playing. Sorry those games (for oil) are now destroying the Gulf, (for high finance) are destroying American communities and American jobs, and (for sheer insanity only -- for mindless war are destroying the U.S. economy as fast as it provokes only more hatreds, cycles of violence, and unpayable debts abroad.

    Thanks for celebrating this shining alternative to the pathetic boys.

  25. Nancy Pelosi was also Speaker of the House as the Wall Street bankers ( who donated heavily to her campaign) destroyed the world economy and then were bailed out and rewarded by Pelosi's Congress. Always give complete credit when giving credit.

  26. Gail, if thousands of pages of legislation containing trillions of dollars in concealed costs and liabilities and hundreds of loopholes for her fattest of cats is your cup of tea - then Nancy is Oolong, Chamomile, and Chai rolled into one.

    Have you looked at the price of a cup of tea these days?

    Now, imagine what will happen if the Chinese revalue the Yuan.


  27. Much of what Nancy Pelosi accomplished has come without significant help from outside the House. Speaker Pelosi is demonized by the Republicans because she is unflappable and consistently effective.

  28. I share your sentiments 100% and there would be millions of our countrymen who consider her as one among them who work for the welfare of the whole nation, not for her party alone. God bless her!

  29. The Office of Congressional Ethics hasn't been too tough on some of Pelosi's fellow Democrats, such as Rangel.

    Unfortunately, the "health reform" legislation that Pelosi drove is rapidly being proved to be the boondoggle that was forecast. The DOJ is now calling that "penalty" for not purchasing insurance a "tax." Guess Obama's promise about no new taxes for the middle class has been thrown under the bus. The CBO is admitting that the implementation and management will cost trillions. And millions of Americans will not be able to keep their health insurance as Obama promised; their employers will find that paying the "tax" will be cheaper than paying the high premiums for insurance that has to conform to the new federal regulations.

    Yeah, Nancy has accomplished a lot--for herself.

  30. I am with you , Gail, I am always fascinated when I speak highly of Nancy and either one does not know who I am speaking of or conversely one will villify her through regurgitated Repub talking points

  31. Gail, thanks for reminding us that there are still great people in D.C.

  32. The reason Republicans hate Nancy Pelosi even more than they hate the president is because she is so damned good at getting bills through the House. Now if we only had someone to equal her in the Senate!

  33. Really, "run by a higher ethical standard"? That would be the reason that 3 out of 4 voters don't approve of it's actions or think the country is headed in the right direction.

  34. Pelosi would be an excellent choice for President after Pres. Obama's second term. The Republicans would just curl up, die and wither away!

  35. ..."She has been around a long time and must have known that from the start. But she pushed anyway. Pelosi is an idealist working in the practical now. She genuinely sees her party as a vehicle for good and her pragmatism is not the least bit cynical. She is the most powerful woman in the country, the most fearless person on Capitol Hill and on track to be one of the most productive speakers in history."

    You obviously have not been listening to my brother-in-law, Gail, who insists that Pelosi is evil incarnate! She is a secret communist who has made deals with everyone from Fidel Castro to Hugo Chavez--and probably has had affairs with both! Unlike Sarah Palin, who is the very model of modern femininity and strength! Sistah Sarah has "shown the way" to so many who were previously disbelievers! I think it was the exorcism she had several years ago, where the preacher spoke in tongues and expelled all evil influences from Palin's soul! (Or a reasonable facsimile thereof.)

    Anyway, I think it is absolutely amazing that women would be split at all between Nancy Pelosi and Sarah Palin! Regardless of political beliefs! Oops--I guess that's the whole deal, is it not? Whatever! I am a Pelosi fan! She is a bright, pragmatic, can-do woman! And her "mother of five" routine is for real! (Did you see the way she stared Joe Wilson down when he yelled "YOU LIE" at President Obama?) The only thing that would change my mind about her is if I hear she has secretly been shooting wolves from helicopters in Yellowstone!!

  36. We are making progress, Gail - we just sometimes forget how far off the road and into the ditch the GOP had put us; we are lucky to have had Ms. Pelosi.

    The Speaker doesn't do this because she has to - she could retire to the West Coast and be happy, I'm sure. But when you learn a biz from your family, and you're good at it, and the country is going to need you to straighten out the mess it is left in, we are fortunate professionals decide to stay.

    Of course, it's also nice she was breaking that glass ceiling, but what the country really needed was her experience - like gray hair, there is no substitute.

  37. She deserves our respect...not because she's a woman (although that makes me very proud) but because she's earned it. I'm so glad you recognized her fearless pragmatism and political smarts.

  38. Maybe she hasn't had a facelift, but she's sure given the House one. How different it is now from the cynnical pay-to-play arena of DeLay and Armey.

    And while it's too bad for his family the way he left, I'm glad Murtha is gone. That, too, raised the House reputation.

  39. Why has she avoided dealing with the Puerto Rican issue? Yes, the colony in the Caribbean on the border of a civil war (45% wnats statedhood, 50% wants more autonomy or else and 5% wants full independence) and Washington does not even try to do anything about it. Just like the rest of the opportunistic and racist politicians in Washington, including Mr. Suave, the President,she has ignored and dismiss the demands of the poor brown people down in the island colony.

  40. Nancy Pelosi is from that generation where successful and powerful women are successful because of what they do--and not how they look. Being in my 20s, I am dismayed that the female politicians in their 40s (think Sarah Palin and Nikki Haley) and even the budding future politicians currently in their 20s (think Meghan McCain) must display a proper "physical look" before they get taken seriously. Men don't comment, "Wow! She made really good sense in that speech!" Men make comments like "Wow! That gal is cute. I am gonna vote for that gal!" What has happened to the political arena of our country? It's sad.

  41. The country would have a much better place if the Senate under Reid were as effective as the House under Pelosi. While Obama's Presidential achievements are historic, the foundation of his successes lies in the effectiveness of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. It is fair that without Nancy Pelosi and her competence and determination in the House, Obama's Presidency would have been a crippled, lamed duck from Day One.

  42. Nancy Pelosi, like so many of her fellow spineless Democrats in Congress, should be ashamed of themselves--and "lead or leave" in favor of *real* progressives. (Yes, that includes Barack Obama.)

    They have forgotten who sent them to Washington--and why.

    At a time when America still faces near-double-digit unemployment, when a post-Great Depression record number and percentage of unemployed Americans have been out of work for over six months, and when no signs of any sustained job growth are evident, Pelosi's arrogant, out-of-touch refusal to support House of Representatives consideration of further extensions of unemployment compensation, including a "Tier V" and beyond, puts her in the same company as Marie Antoinette.

    Pelosi, stop being afraid of, stop compromising with and trying to appease, the Republicans and the Right, and start treating them as the economic terrorists and financial treasonmongers, the enemies of America and Americans, that they are.

    Stop being afraid of the right wing, the rich, and the powerful, Pelosi, and start acting more like Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was not only not afraid to take them on and risk their hatred, but also, as he proudly said in 1936, "welcome[d] their hatred."

    If you are truly concerned about the federal deficit, Nancy, I know of a bailout that needs to be recouped with interest, two needless, wasteful, and illegal wars that need to be ended *now*, and a fair and progressive tax system, the kind we had in the 1950s and 1960s, that needs to be brought back. You'd be amazed at how much money we'd have to close the deficit *and* to address the *real* problems facing America, including the need for job creation (if need be, through a modern-day WPA). Unemployment, poverty, and homelessness are a far greater danger to America than the deficit. And yes, economically, we are at war.

    Get a backbone, Pelosi. For once, stand up for the "ordinary" Americans who elected you and your fellow Democrats to do something, not just play nicey-nice with those who want to destroy what is left in America of workers' rights, decent pay and benefits, and the American dream.

    You can start, Nancy, by taking the lead in winning a "Tier V" of unemployment benefits for the more than 1 million Americans out of work for over 99 weeks through no fault of their own. Yes, Madam Speaker, it really *is* that hard to find a job in America in 2010. I know--I was out of work thanks to corporate incompetence and greed for over 14 months.

    Whose side are you and your pals *really* on, Nancy? November is closer than you think.

    No, I do not believe that electing Republicans, much less "Tea Partiers" or other right-wing types, is any solution--far from it. That would only drive us deeper toward the days of Herbert Hoover, or even William McKinley.

    But it is hard to think of a more effective way of driving America right back into the right wing's talons than for Pelosi and Company to continue on their shameful, spineless course. Is that what Pelosi and her fellow "DINOs" (Democrats In Name Only) really want?

  43. Nancy Pelosi is all about leading human nature in the right direction. Her Republican counterparts, on the other hand, act like warlords "who don't care" how their exaggerations and misrepresentations create confusion when we need mobilization and leadership to solve huge problems which affect everyone. Her opposition is extending its tradition of not developing leadership.

    We need to put together a flip chart comparing the worth and talent embodied in Pelosi vs. Boehner and Reid vs. McConnell.

    We need also to look at the lexicons used by each pair.

    The Democrats are trying to solve very complex problems and introduce legislation which affects systems and people from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico.

    In contrast, the Republican leadership talks is negative tones using focus group-based language that was paid for by interest group funding -- the lobbyists and 24/7 campaign advertisings word smiths.

    It turns out that this entire GOP group and its behavior is very 80s and 90s and out of touch with our dwindling alternatives. But they don't care. Many can’t figure out why they don’t have more to offer and can’t seem to dig it up. Well there is a reason.

    The Republican party has raised a generation of legislators who don't see the paradigm shift and simply don’t know when and how to lead human nature in the right direction and who believe that what they are doing is just fine.

    Well it's not. It's just not.

  44. Interesting to see the early responses, and see how eager people are to want the old system to work, to go back to some good old days way of being that, naturally, would be a lot easier to re-adjust to, but sorry friends, it's just not going to be. It doesn't have to do with Democrat or Republican, it has to do with some hard realities that have arrived. A glimmer will be the oily rain that comes on the Gulf and East Coast after a few hurricanes this summer (not to mention nastier stuff on the coast, tidelands, etc), which, in case you didn't get it, signals "peak oil" - like running out of the stuff and having to get what's left out of hard places, like a mile or two under the ocean and then another mile or two beneath the sea floor, or in the arctic or... And as we get poorer thanks to our imperial wars and fallen productive capacities, everything will get more expensive, etc.
    But dream on, Nancy shows we can fix everything to nice like back before...
    www.jonjost.wordpress.com
    www.cinemaelectronica.wordpress.com

  45. Wonderful column Gail. I do think Speaker Pelosi made people see women in a light that had never been seen before, someone who led a very powerful group of people, and do it with skill and grace. Maybe she paved the way for people to take Hilary seriously as a presidential contender. It also could be that Nancy's leadership will lead to another women finally going all the way to the White House. Let's hope that comes to pass.

  46. Speaker Pelosi, and most Speakers of the House have accomplished many amazing things, good and bad, with their inordinate power.

    What I find most scary, which is not necessarily owed to the person, is that Nancy Pelosi is one of the most powerful people in the world, and in line for the Presidency, without ever earning the votes of more than 300,000 voters. (She had many fewer in her last election.)

    That someone can be this powerful in a 300,000,000 person democracy simply because they survived the good-old-boy/girl network is disturbing.

    Checks and balances? Nope. Mostly just checks from lobbyists.

  47. Richard Luettgen said: "Nancy Pelosi, far from being "on track to be one of the most productive speakers in history", is headed for irrelevance as the Republicans take the House, possibly in November, almost certainly in '12. This is in large part due to the antics of Nancy Pelosi, heading up a gaggle of liberals run amok with the majority power and completely out of step with the priorities of the people who elected them."

    I love how when conservatives criticize liberals, it all comes out in gibberish... It proves their ignorance.

    Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama have performed admirably, and for the good of the nation. They understand that they are hated by the hateful right, and they realize that their actions will be deliberately twisted and used against them in November, but they are brave enough to do the right thing for the nation, not the most advantageous thing for themselves. In that way, they set themselves apart from the Boehners, the Cantors and the rest of the smirking members of the opposition.

  48. Nancy Pelosi is a great leader. The House under her leadership passed health care, financial reform and energy bills. It prevented a second great depression by passing TARP and the stimulus bills. These are historic bills that are game changers and show the boldness we need to accomplish things for the people. Nancy Pelosi is very knowledgeable person who knows how to accomplish things. She is a grandmother who is kind, caring and truly believes in family values.

    The non-stop attacks on her by the right wing conservatives are totally disgraceful. Some of these conservatives represent the worst in our country. Their demonizing of her is so out of line and disgusting. But these right wingers have history of treating other human beings with disrespect, so it should not surprise any body.

    Democrats must not give up and fight very hard for the November elections. Their accomplishments for the people and the country are huge in short 18 months, considering what they inherited, an economy on the verge of total collapse, and $1.3 trillion annual deficits and unprecedented rate of loss of jobs. At the end, the truth and the facts will prevail.

  49. Nancy Pelosi is my hero. She steadfastly stands for her (and our) ideals, which makes her incomparable in Washington. Although President Obama has wavered in some important areas, Nancy never has. She has been the one true voice of leadership and intelligence. She is hands down my favorite political leader and the only one we can truly see as flawless.

  50. It is amazing the difference in what her house manages to get done compared to other two isn't it? From Reid & Obama all we hear is why we can't get it done, while Nancy quietly, well carefully gets things passed in a recognizable form.

  51. Obama will no doubt run on all that's been accomplished during his current administration: health reform, finance reform, etc...

    But Pelosi is the muscle-man that got all that accomplished, and in the process embarrass and expose the Republicans for what they are: no good lover's of the rich and hater's of ordinary America and doing everything possible to help the country fail.

    Thus, I'd call Obama "the Lion King". Not because of his Kenyan roots, but because in Lion society, the females do all the work, raise the kittens, catch the food, while the male lions basically do nothing but fight with other male lions.

    Turns out, human societies are often a lot like lion societies. The women make almost everything happen.

    At some point of chugging along, Pelosi is going to get the recognition she deserves. By Novemeber, I think, many people will realize just how hard working the Democrats, over all, have been and how much more could have been accomplished if Republican's hand not been so obstructionist.

    In essence the Republicans are extorting America: either let them have power, or they will do everything in their power to cause the country to fail. As the implications of what all this positioning means, eventually settles in on the electorate, the Republican party will become ever more marginalized.

  52. All the cheer leading is making me deaf. While it is true that Pelosi is n effective and sometimes progressive legislator, her record will be forever stained by her insistence that "impeachment is off the table" and for allowing egregious violations of our civil and privacy rights by enabling the criminal Bush administration to get away with it all. Not to mention leading the Democrats in further rubber stamping of endless war.

    She and Obama are effectively burying all of the crimes of the last administration; the powerful protect the powerful, and the status quo. There will be no significant change in the direction of the country until these wrongs have been investigated and fully exposed, and the perpetrators charged, tried, convicted and sentenced, whether in US courts, or theInternational Court in the Hague. While much substantial legislation has been passed, health care "reform" is not true reform, just halfway and incremental steps, and therefore not the great step for progress that it could have been. But it is true, she does drive the crazy right wing, even more crazy, in itself an amusing side show.

  53. Thanks for this article. Pelosi is hated in part because you rarely hear this kind of information about just how much she has accomplished. As much as I pay attention to politics even I know very little about the her ethics and finance reforms.

    Citizens needs this type of information not just all the negative things if they are to make informed decisions and vote wisely. It is no wonder so many Americans are easily manipulated by right wing propaganda when so many in the mainstream media treat politics like entertainment. For example everyone knew about Sarah Palin's daughter being an unwed mother but few had a clue about her record as governor - crucial information when voting.

    Our democracy is badly weakened by the ignorance of its citizens. The media has an obligation to inform, not entertain us. After all that is why they enjoy special constitutional protection.

  54. Well Gail that was a great simulated speech for the best actress award for comedy above and beyond the expectations of the office.

  55. I agree with the column. Many anti Pelosi types are motivated by either jealousy or sexism, actually. Along with the usual right wing terror that someone might actually call into question some of the injustice and cruelty we take for granted as normal parts of life here in the US.

  56. We now pass bills that, by her own comments, no one knows how they will work until they are enacted.

    That would be like you taking a mortgage without knowing the interest rate, oh I just noticed that passed a bill no one knows how it will work to stop that as well.

    It is a runaway train and hopefully it will be derailed in November. I am not saying the concepts are not good but the means are horrible.

    Slow down and live, always remember speed kills.

  57. And she opposed offshore drilling, not to score political points, but because, as she said, "trying to save the planet, trying to save the planet."

    She's a gem.

  58. This Pelosi train wreck passed a health care bill that government can not afford, and a financial reform bill that business and consumers can not afford. The financial reform bill also ignored real financial catastrophes around the corner of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and government itself. Thanks for nothing, Nancy.

  59. History will not treat Pelosi with kindness. She will be remembered as the last of the 20th century 60's leftist that contributed mightily to a divided nation and weak legislation.

    When I think of her, I think of just how far on the political fringe she and her followers were. That she represented the worst of a generation of unpatriotic narcissists, that worked hard at using power to promote an ideology predicated on “the me” over country.

    My sense is, that the upcoming midterms will mark the end of her power and spell the demise of the 60's left's hold on the Democrats. She will in fact be viewed by historians as the last Speaker of that version of the Democrat Party.

    The writer of this essay would have you believe that she and the Obama administration have produced legislation of significance; when in fact, in spite of huge majorities they produced legislation that is closer to being milk toast than true reform.

    Take the health care bill as an example: what has it accomplished? Are the ever increasing costs of health care remedied? Is health care now available to all on an equitable basis? Is health care easier to acquire?

    NO, no, no in fact for all the time and media attention that health care received last year the Obama/Pelosi enacted legislation is little more than fluff.

    Now we can all look at the so called pending financial reform bill and ask is this true reform? And once again any honest onlooker will conclude that it in fact like the health care bill it does nothing more than circle the wagons as opposed to addressing the fundamental issues.

    In conclusion to believe that Pelosi has been a leader that has produced legislation of substance is pure fancy of the left. What in fact she has produced is fluff topped with a large dose of division.

  60. I can say honestly that I was no fan of Speaker Pelosi for quite some time, however she has become one of the most powerful speakers with a better grsp of a broad spectrum of issues than any speaker since Tip O'Neil. For that she is to be applauded. It took awhile to get past her personality and to understand just how challanging her job must be considering she must deal with idiots like John Boehner and Eric Cantor who have yet to propose any legislation of significant importance that was worthy of anything but corporate interests. Speaker Pelosi almost deserves the Profiles in Courage Award for putting up with such mean spirited, ignorant men, who are without moral compass.

    Thomas McMahon
    Millis Ma

  61. In an imperfefect universe, Nancy Pelosi stands out as a hard-working, positive addition to the planet. I know this is all about politics, "the art of the possible." But, from a spiritual perspective, it seems to me she has the advantage of being a practicing Christian in the "real" world: doing her best, occasionally stumbling, dusting herself off and-- despite the inevitable bruises-- continuing to go about improving the nation and the world. God bless her.

  62. Such an objective op-ed!
    I remember instead comments such as the new health care bill was going to stimlulate the economy" because Americans' entrepreneurial spirit was going to be unleashed without the worry about health care. Such a deep thinker.
    And when the Senate could not reconcile the recent unemployment extension, and instead sent back the emergency provision to avoid rate cuts for doctors in Medicare, she balked, saying if they didn't do other things she wanted, she wouldn't fix the rates. Now its one thing to bundle bills. But when they are not bundled, you can be quite exposed as an unethical politician. Her collleagues apparently disagreed and resoundingly passed the rate bill with only one vote nea.
    Gail needs to ignore the tingle up her leg, take off the rose-colored glasses, and realize that directionless passing of compromised legislation is like collecting old wrecks in your front yard. She will be the most successful car collector in history.

  63. President Pelosi, it sounds good, doesn't it? The sooner the better. Maybe Obama will develop a sense of responsibility and not run again, I wish.

  64. honestly, i think of her as saint nancy. im a million years, i couldn't develop her grit. it is no mystery why the demons demonize her. saints are rarely popular with the cardinals and patriarchs and palace gnomes. i know she is working for me for america and for what i believe. god bless nancy. godspeed.

  65. Sometimes the sheer determination and courage of a person commands respect, regardless of one's own personal views.
    With NP there can be little doubt of her fulfilling the requirements for admiring respect.

    With Gail Collins there is also little doubt, for a reporter who is determined enough and courageous enough to 'buck the trend' and actually say something good about a politician...now that also deserves respect.

  66. Finally!!!! We owe her so very much. I am her age and wish I had her energy.

  67. Your comment about her own members resenting ethical restraints and the public not giving it enough credit hit a nerve, well at least mine. Why would the public give it much credit? I suspect that I for one expect my representatives to be ethical. That's not so hard, unless of course my representatives are hogs at the trough. But then hogs at the trough and politicians are within the same definition. Can't stop 'em, just don't reelect them. Trite as it is reelecting them only encourages them to stay for more at the trough.

  68. To speak to one of your examples, Pelosi didn't get health care reform passed "for the American people".
    The majority of the American people did not want this particular bill passed.
    The majority of the Congress that passed it did not even read it, don't comprehend it, and don't have to worry about it. After all, they, along with their families, maintain their Cadillac coverage no matter what.

  69. It will take years to undo the damage she has done.

  70. "In conversation, she’s a runaway train." Well, history may show that it was not just in conversation. But she is a leading democrat, perhaps the leading democrat, and her party is in power, and she is using that power to push through her party's agenda, and that is what politics is all about.

  71. Please...this woman (and the other Progressives in Congress) is driving the country into an economic meltdown. Its time for her to retire and get out of the way...we can't afford her any longer.

  72. I couldn't agree more with your assessment of Nancy Pelosi. I've admired her for a long time and point out her achievements to my granddaughters and Pelosi as someone who is interested in the greater good and does everything she can to achieve something while in office. A hero for all girls and women of today and days to come.

  73. Nancy Pelosi is simply the most competent leader in all of the three branches of government we have. Period.

    (As a San Franciscan, I take vicarious pride in being a resident of the city that recognized her qualities early.)

  74. Powerful - yes. Effective - yes. Moving the country in the right direction - no.

  75. Nancy knocks me out too, and I'm proud as a peacock to witness this grandma doing something good for this country in the US Congress.

  76. She is quite remarkable and has asccomplished so much mosre than previous speakers of the House. In spite of the vicious and mean-sprited attacks on her, she remains calm and does her job. I think it's easier for the far right to demonize her because she's female and from California. But this says more about her distractors than it does about her. The country owes her a great deal of respect.

  77. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is the most under-rated and under-recognized woman in America. America is lucky to have such a brave and principled woman. She is perfect as a potential first woman President of US. Alas, if only voters recognized her quality.

  78. She is an awesome machine. I wish our other officials had half her qualities-we might turn out OK. What do we pay those people for again?

  79. What planet do you live on Ms Collins? Ethics? and Speaker Pelosi?

    Nancy Pelosi hails from a corrupt family of politicians in Baltimore. This is fact and not opinion. She has coddled and and abetted criminals such as William Jefferson and Charles Rangel, because it served her parties interests. Her husband has made untold millions off of her influence.

    If that was not bad enough, she has rammed the unwanted, unpopular and unwise health care bill down America's throat by intimidating her so called "blue dogs" into virtual submission. On top of that, the woman is a blubbering idiot when allowed to speak extemperanneously. See here interview with David Gregory regarding St. Augustin approving of abortion rights.

    Thankfully, she will not be Speaker next year if the public votes these bums out.

  80. Thanks for the reminder. Pelosi has done such a good job that the troglodytes on the right hate her. That in itself is a mark of excellence.

  81. I agree. After watching the voting on the health care bill, I decided that if Pelosi ever runs for president she has my vote. She has been an extraordinary legislator.

  82. Pelosi is a manipulative politician who will say almost anything to achieve her personal or political goal.This should not be applauded but rather is appalling.She is a good example of why Americans distrust politicians and Washington.

  83. well said! after the invisible dennis hastert, pelosi is like a hurricane. yes, she offends some people. yes, many people find her aggressive and overbearing and too much to stomach. but she understands the speaker's office and its potential. good for her, because it reinforces and empowers the House. and if she also likes the limelight, so what? is there anyone in washington, d.c., who does not?

  84. She should be president. I hope she runs.

  85. Anyone would be successful with the majorities she commands.

  86. Ms. Pelosi must have spent a bit of time on her daddy's knee. While he never engendered a lot of love in my family as I grew up, he did earn our father's respect for his hard nose and harder fists. I tip my cap to her.

  87. now that she's passed another bill, maybe we'll soon find out what's in it.

  88. Thank you, Gail, for a piece that is long over due. People do underestimate her because she wears pearls. I am glad and grateful for all she does. She is a tough cookies who does not hog the limelight (wink, wink Palin). Thank you Gail and THANK YOU NANCY!

  89. I view America from afar and see Sarah Palin and Nancy Pelosi and have to agree that your Speaker who was elected by her local voters in California and then her peers in the House is a better example for good than someone who was rejected by American voters and then quit her local job to cash in on America's God: $$$!


  90. Millions of poor people voted for Republicans and complained every day about their low hourly wage and never realized that their own congressmen were the people who prevented them from getting a raise.
    95% of the taxpayers got a tax decrease this year thanks to President Obama's policies, but Rush and Beck and Billo tell them that Obama is raising their taxes and they believe them. Obama is raising taxes on multi-millionaires like Rush and Beck and Billo...and Sarah Palin...and every talking head on TV who delivers the 'news'.

    The Democrats have terrible PR, The White House needs Donna Brazile, not Robert Gibbs. They need Terry McAuliffe, not David Axelrod.

  91. Pelosi and ethics????? "We will know what's in the bill after we pass it", Pelosi? Is this the one you are praising today? Treats, promises of non-support, arm twisting, vote buying Pelosi? The CIA is lying Pelosi? Healthcare will save us money Pelosi?
    I think she is the poster child for government without an ethical basis.

  92. Well said. The President could use a good measure of Ms. Pelosi's 'CAN-DO' spirit. It is refreshing to see a fearless Democrat.

  93. Dear Ms Collins:
    Admiration for Ms Pelosi,and many more virtues now in my knowledge
    thanks to your brief column. regards.

  94. Thank you, Gail, for this reminder about Speaker Pelosi. She is inspiring.

  95. It kind of knocks me out also. Thank you, Nancy Pelosi. We could not have done it without you.

  96. I like Nancy Pelosi. Beyond the qualities that you describe in this piece, Gail, I also appreciate that she is loyal to President Obama. She and Joe Biden exude honesty and goodness and support for our president. The expressions on their faces when someone is obnoxious during televised meetings is priceless. I don't know why, exactly, but I find it very touching.

    She's a character.

    This is a good essay, Gail. Thank you for it!

    Cali S.

  97. Gail:

    I kinda like how apoplectic the far right becomes at the mere hint of her name.

    Good enough for me!

  98. It's a shame there isn't someone like her serving as White House chief of staff.

  99. What a terrific piece of writing. Gail, you're as good when you celebrate as when mock or put things in their proper context. I always knew there was real moral complexity under your wonderfully sane jokes, but it comes through beautifully in this first-rate profile of Pelosi. We know people better by what they love than by what they criticize. Thank you.

  100. Thank you, Gail Collins, for voicing this, which I realize is so true, but I had not thought to put words to it.

    And, of course, thank you, Nancy Pelosi!

  101. Nancy Pelosi is liked and respected by no one. She is a conniving political relic and should have relegated to the dustbins of history a long time ago but for the lack of democracy in San Francisco. What a disgrace. Her legacy of ruin will haunt America for decades. Woe is us.

  102. Nancy can work miracles! The President is indeed fortunate to have this dedicated smart woman as the House Speaker on his team.

    Go Nancy!!

  103. Thank you Gail for giving Nancy the credit she deserves. As you humorously described with the morse code comment, certain things about her may not appeal to everyone, but hopefully some of those people will read your piece and gain a new understanding of her capabilities and achievements. And for the latter, I say thank you Nancy.

  104. Gail,
    Kudos to you for honoring Nancy Pelosi, the woman the Right loves to hate. They don't know what to do about a smart, effective woman leader who's a liberal. They prefer women who quit their political offices to go on lucrative speaking tours, mouthing simple-minded sound bites.

    But please let's remember that that Nancy's political training didn't start in California. Truly, it started in Baltimore, as the daughter of a beloved politician out of Little Italy, Thomas D'Alessandro, who later became mayor (as did his son after him, Nancy's brother Tommy).

  105. Thank you Gail for singing Nancy's praise. I'm in all admiration for her efforts on our behalf. Your praise is particularly noteworthy these days as most often, journalists only write to knock politicians and not of the enormous good some of them do nor how tirelessly hard they work. Bravo to you and Nancy.

  106. Nancy Pelosi is an amazing woman who brings great heart, integrity, tenacity into fighting for the well-bring and concerns of American families. It dismays and disturbs me to see how the Right has vilified and distorted her record, her service, and her character. She is a remarkable human being, public servant, and role model! Thank you, Nancy!

  107. Your column this Saturday, devoid of your barbs dutifully sharpened and piercing into the flesh of how ridiculous public figures - read the proud and boastful - is surely to raise hackles. Not because it was well written and well aimed at proper recognition, but because it lacks of a scandal, of a sort of of idiocy that we all welcome you taking on.

    Let's face it. The general public does not want to hear about, much less believe in, competence. The stuff that is thrown at us in reality TV shows, cable news screaming heads, vaguely disguised bigots spewing some form or another of anger and disgust against one group or another, celebrities with far too much money and idle time and far too little sense and public relations advisers, all of these compete mightily for the lowest common denominator where success is measured in cat fights, not accomplishments.

    What were you thinking?

    Can we have more of it mixed in with the anti-bodies of humor to inoculate us from the infections of the asinine?

  108. Nonsense. Pelosi, the Democrat congress and the Democrat president are all window dressing, no real
    substance. Nothing meaningful has been accomplished in health care or financial reform. You've fallen
    for the P.R. hype, Gail.

  109. I am so glad that you brought up all the achievements in the House under Nancy Pelosi's watch. With an iron hand in a velvet glove, she deserves credit as the most productive speaker in recent times.

  110. More power to Pelosi. Much of the criticism she gets from the right is despicably sexist. She just ignores it, and keeps working away. She is a true American hero, and will go down in history as one of the truly remarkable and noteworthy Speakers of House, and not just because she is the first woman to hold the position, but rather because she has been one of the most effective -- unlike what's-his-name that came before her.

  111. Yes, Pelosi is more than a bit of okay. We need more like her.

  112. I usually love GC's columns, but this one really misses the mark.

    That health care bill? Pretty much a disaster for everyone except the insurance companies.

    Today's financial reform bill? An abysmal failure, good for the big banks, credit card companies... just about anybody except the consumer.

    Campaign finance reform? Pul-leeze. The Supreme Court has put the kibosh on that.

    Working- and middle-class have benefitted not at all from Pelosi's leadership. There's two wars raging, Gail, an unemployment crisis that no one's seriously trying to solve, and an assault on the rights of women, gays, and immigrants which gets little from Democrats but the cold shoulder.

    Anyway you slice it, Pelosi's a failure. And anywhere in the West except America she'd be known for what she is--a right-wing conservative.

  113. Madam Speaker,

    During my 23 years of Naval service I had the distinct pleasure of knowing two recipients of the Medal of Honor. One just passed away here in San Diego County. Lt. John Finn at the age of 100 was the oldest living recipient of the Medal and also the oldest living survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack. Representative Duncan Hunter and others are calling for a Navy vessel to be named after him. I urge you to join in that effort. But that's not why I am writing this.

    The other Medal recipient that I personnaly knew was Capt. Thomas Hudner. Tom Hudner was awarded the nation's highest honor for crash landing his aircraft alongside of his wingman's downed aircraft, Jesse Brown, the first African American Naval Aviator, in a vain attempt to save him during the Korean conflict.

    So, Madam Speaker, I cite two true American heroes. But there is one more that I strongly feel deserves our nation's thanks even though never having served in actual combat. That person, Madam Speaker, is you.

    No one in recent memory has done more than you for the American people. You have ignored the rocks and shoals that threaten political leadership and charged ahead using every drop of tact, every ounce of persuasive ability, in you body to achieve the best for the American people.

    You have been demonized by the Republican opposition and even faced of some of the most vitriolic attacks that no Speaker of the House has ever endured. In the face of such opposition, Madam Speaker, you have been ever so calm and steadfast in your determination to do the work of the people. That, Madam, constitutes heroism beyond and above any medal that your country might offer you.

  114. "We’ll go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, we’ll go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in."
    What a great attitude. And she actually does it. I can't help but wonder if her accomplishments receive less attention until a column like this points them out, because she is a woman.

  115. It's kind of nice to read a column that doesn't attack, lay blame or malign it's subject, but instead gives praise where it is due. Nacny Pelosi is a dedicated profession politician, and as a Californian, I am most proud to have her holding this high position, and working to put forward the ideas that Democrats have long stood for. And thank you Gail , for the excellent coverage of Speaker Pelosi's accomplishments (this week!)

  116. Gail, you really nailed it with this column. I have long felt that if Obama goes down as one of our great presidents (a very strong possibility) most of the credit on the political side will be thanks to the speaker.
    One thing you did not mention was how she grew up in the hurly burly of Baltimore politics, where her father was mayor.
    Hats off to you for taking your hat off to Nancy Pelosi!

  117. I agree with your assessment. Alas, how she is demonized by the Republican propaganda machine. i wish voters will send more Democrats to the Congress in November, so she can achieve more for Americans.

  118. Gail, you're right on! Nancy is great and the politicians don't like her because she can't be bought and the Republicans hate her because she's not a racist, like they are, nor will she sell out to Wall Street or Big Oil. Even though she is rich she still tries to take care of the "little people" in our society, not the "fat cats."

  119. Gail
    Loved your column on Nancy Pelosi. It is such a pleasure to see a positive view of her for a change. And you are so right. Nancy Pelosi will go down in history as a very influential Speaker of the House. Thank you. It is about time for some positive commentary about her.
    I have met her and , in person, she is truly impressive.

  120. thanks so much for this opinion piece. As a former Californian, I know the grief the Speaker endures sometimes from within her own party. And, that she is smart, tenacious and always every-hair-in-place beats the heck out of many of her predecessors. Those progressives (and I am one)who complain about what she can't get passed in legislation do not live in the real world. Politics in any organization or gov't body is always about compromise. Get it over the fence, then attempt to make it better!

  121. My 17 year old daughter is off on Monday to Ontario to work in her aunt's restaurant. It's a huge, big step and she's pretty excited (alternate word for nervous). I bought her Dr. Seuss's book "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" to give to her for reading on the plane and during the summer.

    It's a book about Nancy. One part says a lot.

    You'll be on your way up!
    You'll be seeing great sights!
    YOu'll join the high fliers
    who soar to high heights.

    You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
    You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
    Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best.
    Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

    I won't tell it all but Dr Seuss talks about the naysayers and, worst of all, the Waiting Place, where people are just waiting for something to happen. Instead of making it happen. Having the courage to make a difference.

    Not Nancy, not her.
    She's taking up the bit.
    It's time she decided to get going with it.

    Maybe not a trot
    But at least start to walk
    In these scary days it's not enough only to talk.

    So bluster Rush of course
    Whine Glenn you might
    It's Nancy who's in charge and she's not afraid to fight!

    With apologies to Suess
    for he's a good fellow.
    But since when did Americans suddenly turn yellow?

  122. Thank you, thank you, Gail Collins--and, OF COURSE, THANK YOU to Nancy Pelosi. Life is too short to beat around the bush, and she does so with great wisdom and grace.

    Keep on!!

  123. Yeah, Pelosi deserves so much of the credit. But will she still be speaker after this year's midterm elections? Pelosi's speakership rests on the upcoming midterm elections. I wonder how many democrats realize this fact? Please, if you value her leadership go out and VOTE this Fall!!! A democratic majority in the house is a must. As we have seen without her Obama can not... (will not?) do it on his own.
    The thought of John Boehner being our next speaker is frightening to say the least! I sure hope that does NOT happen!

  124. You have got to be kidding! She has used Air Force 3 for cocktail parties, flown back and forth to San Francisco (nevermind her supposed carbon footprint)so much so that she could've earned enough bonus miles to fly United to Pluto and back for me, and pays 18K a month for a newly renovated office (when the next most expensive office is 10k).

    Yeah, the new ethics has really been great-for Democrats. Where is Charles Rangel's hearing?

    As for her legislation, "you have to wait until we pass the bill to see what is in it." This is someone who Gail Collins reveres? With all that is going on in the country, this passes as insightful?

  125. Well, Nancy is a bit of a flack and a hack. "Runaway train" doesn't begin to get at the way she handles criticism, by simply throwing out ten defensive arguments back-to-back, like linked freightcars. Machine-gun style.

    And then too, if she's "great," it's in large part because after all, at last the Democrats have a majority; it's easier to be great, when you are given the bigger army, after all.

    Still, even her raw, aggressive, boilerplate gab, manages to work well enough, in a world that was propagandized, neuro-programmed, hypnotized, by the even-more standardized, glib phrases, from Rush Limbaugh.