Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pelosi’s Failed First Term

As the end of Nancy Pelosi’s first term as House Speaker approaches, there is little doubt that her peers will reelect her to that position when the 111th Congress convenes in 2009. Pelosi is incredibly fortunate that it’s her fellow Democrats and not the American people who decide whether she deserves another term, because at this point she has failed to deliver on any of the major promises that her party made to the voters who put her in power.

Incredibly, Pelosi has not only failed to deliver on her promises to independent swing voters, but also to her far-left base. One would expect that the nation’s first female Speaker, hailing from San Francisco, would be on the fast track to sainthood with the far-left at this point. Alas, these finicky voters, who make up roughly 15% of the American electorate, are as upset with Pelosi as the Republicans are.

Demagoguery is nothing new when it comes to politicians trying to get elected, but Pelosi took a real chance when she promised voters that the Democrats had "...a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices” when campaigning in 2006.

Since then gas prices have gone up nearly two dollars a gallon.

We are still waiting to hear the Democrat’s plan.

The truth is that since she took office, Pelosi has done everything she possibly could to keep gas prices high.

Most recently, in what seems to be little more than a knee-jerk reaction to the President, she stubbornly continues to oppose drilling in ANWR and in coastal regions.

Over the last week, we’ve seen that even symbolic gestures by the federal government suggesting that it is open to increased domestic exploration can lower the price of oil.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for Nancy Pelosi to come up with an explanation, especially one palatable to independent voters, as to why she is opposed to such action.

On her left, Pelosi is struggling to explain why she was thwarted in her attempts to ensure failure in Iraq. Had she rallied Democrats in favor of the President’s surge strategy, she would at least be able to say that she helped bring about needed change in the Iraq policy. But the left was always invested in defeat and surrender, cleverly disguised as a Democratic desire for a “new direction”.

Now, not only is the far-left enraged that she could not achieve a full withdrawal from Iraq, but her opposition to the surge has allowed the right to label her as yet another Democrat who never had any interest in winning the conflict in the first place. In the long term, this adds yet more evidence to the increasingly widespread view that Democrats are weak when faced with adversity in the foreign policy arena. As we have seen since the end of the Vietnam War, this label has a tendency to stick.
Pelosi is either delusional or is yet to realize that the pendulum is swinging towards the GOP on both the Iraq issue and on the steps need to be taken to lower prices at the pump.

Pelosi is essentially immune from any political consequences this time around since the GOP has little chance of regaining control of the House of Representatives this cycle. However, Pelosi’s refusal to work towards solutions to our nation’s biggest problems, and instead spend her capital on repeated attempts to make political gains at the expense of an unpopular administration, could very well hurt Barack Obama in the fall.

Either way, it is nearly impossible for anyone, on either side, to spin Pelosi’s first two years wielding the gavel, as anything other than an abject failure.

-Dan Joseph

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