Today's WaPost contains a little piece on our Madame Speaker from San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi. In it, her recent "leadership" on the healthcare issue is discussed, particularly her role in the recent House Committee vote to move healthcare legislation forward (though not on the President's aggressive timeline). This vote was important for Democrats, as it represented the rise of the Blue Dogs and showed and ability to compromise internally--one that will be tested in the months to come as the full House and Senate get involved (my personal feeling is that the bill that will leave the House Committee is as good as the Blue Dogs will get it, and it will become more liberal as time goes on---therein driving the Blue Dogs away, again).
In the article, there are a number of statements of admiration and support from Democratic lawmakers about her role in the debate and her performance as Speaker. But there's something here that I simply can't get. I have never before been confronted with a politician on "the other side" for whom there has been a more obvious disconnect between public performance and private support. Put another way, the great Democratic politicians of the past 40 years have all managed to grab a solid amount of my admiration--even Al Gore! But there they are--Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary, et al, doing their thing, pissing me off, but all along the way earning a grudging respect. What I can't figure out is why I have come to see Nancy Pelosi as utterly without merit, a complete partisan hack, intellectually benumbed, and simply out of her depth? Clearly it is a matter of a misperception on my part--if all these really smart politicians think she's such a great gal, marvelous leader, the very reincarnation of Boudica in our time, how can I be so wrong? But apparently I am, 'cause Steny Hoyer thinks she's the bomb-diggity.