Lollapelosi diverts attention from Democrat mischief
By Michael M. Bates
The intensity of Nancy Pelosi's coronation was almost too much for the heart to bear.
There was Madam Speaker-to-be surrounded by her grandchildren with an adoring media nodding its collective approval.
The New York Times noted "this nurturing image dominated the news." No allusion was made to the many children victimized by taxpayer funded abortion, a particular enthusiasm of Ms. Pelosi.
ABC's Charles Gibson (The Anchor Formerly Known as Charlie Gibson) gushed:
I've heard rumors that a few stouthearted Americans still remain who don't want, or even need, to be taken care of by politicians. They're not children and they don't need Big Grandma looking after them.
Not that Ms. Pelosi would countenance such thinking. The day after becoming speaker, she took what ABC News termed "a victory lap" through Baltimore, her hometown.
Her father had been the mayor there and her brother, Thomas D'Alesandro III, recalled precious childhood memories. The D'Alesandro family "had our doors open every day, people coming in looking for jobs, for medical assistance, for housing, to get somebody out of jail."
The patronage jobs and subsidized housing expectations I understand. And certainly Democrats helping other Democrats to either keep out or get out of the pokey is a longstanding custom. But going to their house for medical attention suggests the Family D'Alesandro really provided full service coddling. At taxpayer expense, no doubt.
With that background, Nancy's ascendance to the top leadership post was only a matter of time. Her cracking of the marble ceiling was something we all should celebrate, at least according to much of the mainstream media.
CNN's Dana Bash said that Ms. Pelosi's elevation was "a moment to savor." Over at NBC, Meredith Vieira said, "I'm excited as a woman to see that happen." The Washington Post ran a story titled "Women Bask in New Speaker's Shining Moment." The Chicago Tribune began its coverage with, "In an historic and emotional display of determination and gratitude, Democrats elected the first woman Speaker of the House and took charge of the 110th Congress Thursday. . . "
MSNBC's Chris Matthews was looking forward to the State of the Union address and the two people sitting behind President Bush: "There's going to be, you know, crotchety old Dick Cheney up there with the snarl and next to him, this wonderfully turned out, Italo-American woman from San Francisco. What's that going to mean to the country?" Obviously to Chrissy, quite a lot.
In all the exhilaration, it was easy to miss the fact that electing Nancy to the speakership wasn't the only action in the House that day.
One of the first votes taken established the rules by which the new Congress will operate. These seemingly arcane procedures admittedly don't have the sex appeal of a 66-year-old grandmother, but they'll have a significant impact on what happens over the next couple of years.
So it was revealing to see how the Pelosi majority, including that new breed of conservative Democrat we hear so much about, would handle the rules. Back in 1995 when the Republicans took over the House, they changed the existing rules, making it more difficult for Congress to raise taxes.
Rather than passing tax increases by a simple majority, the requirement was a supermajority of two-thirds. Now that's been amended.
In a press release, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist warned taxpayers to hold onto their wallets. He went on:
In all fairness, it wasn't just Speaker Pelosi and the new House leadership who acted to make it easier to boost taxes. Every single one of the 232 Democrats, even the new breed of conservative ones, voted to do so. And every one of the 199 voting Republicans acted to keep it more difficult to add to our tax burden.
The next time someone starts telling you there's no difference between the two parties, you might want to keep that in mind.
In the mainstream media, Congress making it easier to raise taxes doesn't merit much coverage. What's important is how this wonderfully turned out, Italo-American woman from San Francisco will look sitting next to crotchety old Dick Cheney.
Glad they're keeping their priorities straight.
This Mike Bates column appeared in the January 11, 2007 Reporter Newspapers.