Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of the House, trying as hard as she may, was unable to squeak out a tear from her eyes when referencing the violence in San Francisco in the late 1970s to convey her fears about violent rhetoric being used in today’s political theater (assuming there is, which there isn’t). Sure, you could go for the easy target and say her inability to produce tears was from the amount of botox she’s had injected (Clostridium botulinum tearus interuptus) but I have a few other theories.
Theory #1: She takes the low road and equates all criticism to violent rhetoric.
Theory #2: She needs you to think criticisms of her inability to lead or build consensus are waged solely by discredited crazy people.
Theory #3: Choking up worked for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire.
Let’s take a look at what she said:
“I have concerns about some of the language that is being used because I saw — I saw this myself in the late ’70s in San Francisco, this kind of — of rhetoric was very frightening and it gave — it created a climate in which we — violence took place.
And so I wish that we would all, again, curb our enthusiasm in some of the statements that are made, understanding that — that some of the people — the ears it is falling on are not as balanced as the person making the statement might assume.
But, again, our country is great because people can say what they think and they believe, but I also think that they have to take responsibility for any incitement that they may cause.”
Let’s look at that final section a little closer:
“Our country is great because people can say what they think and they believe…” Yes, Nancy, I agree with you wholeheartedly.
Ah, but then there’s the but. A big but.
“… but I also think…”
Try explaining “but” to a young person. It’s a fun exercise. I remember my nephew remarking to my niece about her Mario Kart skills on the Nintendo Wii last Christmas, “You’re a good driver, but you run in to everything.” My husband explained to him that when you use the word “but” it negates everything you’ve said before it. He asked, “What does ‘negate’ mean?” “Cancels out.” “Oh!” He then proceeded to put to use what he learned … all night. “That’s a cool character but he sure is ugly.” “That’s a fast car but not as fast as mine!” “You’re funny but your jokes are pretty lame.” We told him it didn’t always have to be a negative thing. Then he said, “I don’t like vegetables but this is good broccoli!” (Disclaimer: He does like vegetables.) He said he’d never look at the word “but” the same again. It was a proud moment for me — so long as he uses it to understand English grammar and not for put downs with his classmates, teammates or sisters! I’m afraid my ten year old nephew knows more about sentence structure than Nancy Pelosi but she is a politician and politicians love to use the word “but” to reroute their message towards what they really think.
So what does Nancy Pelosi really think?
“… but I also think that they have to take responsibility for any incitement that they may cause.”
I remember when attendees to the health care town hall meetings became even more frustrated. It was shortly after August 5, 2009, when Nancy Pelosi was asked if she thought town hall meetings consisted of a genuine grassroots opposition. Not only did she say they were astroturf, she said they were carrying swastikas and symbols like that. Excuse me? Town halls were flooded by local constituents wearing swastikas? Really? Where are those pictures? That’s quite a charge. I’d like to see proof of town hall meetings where people are carrying swastikas and symbols like that. I’d like to see the people around them tolerating it. The LaRouche people are known for adding Hitler’s mustache to U.S. Presidents, including President Obama. I don’t remember Speaker Pelosi’s concern when LaRouche had pictures of President Bush as Hitler. As a US citizen, I don’t want any US President, current or former, being depicted as Hitler. I’m consistent like that. No, those aren’t “public option” opponents, Nancy. You might know that if the New York Times did a little investigative journalism. Heck, access to Wikipedia can take you pretty far. A phone call to their offices would seal the deal. Perhaps you’re just in denial that the founder of LaRouche ran for President 8 times: once with the Labor Party and 7 times with the Democratic Party.
A mere two days after she accused health care opponents of carrying swastikas, she penned an op-ed with House Majority Leader, Stenny Hoyer, where she called health care protesters un-American. In an earlier post entitled “Health Care: The Fight’s Not Over” I said:
Why do Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer call opponents of the current Health Care bill “un-American” when Pelosi told the anti-war protesters of Code Pink who interrupted one of her meetings in 2006 that “there is nothing more articulate, more eloquent, to a member of Congress than the voice of his or her constituent.” She goes on to say she likes dissenters. Listen to it here. Did Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer think they could quiet the American people by referring to us as un-American? If their goal was to douse the enthusiasm against the bill or to assuage the doubts we the people have towards our government’s ability to run anything well, it’s obvious they have only managed to add fuel to the fire.
Is Nancy Pelosi inciting people by equating them to Nazis and then calling them un-American? Before you answer that question, you have to ask another: Inciting them to what? Inciting them to anger? Yes. Inciting them to violence? No. The American people can handle your slander, Nancy Pelosi. They can handle your lies. They can even handle the “deer in the headlights” look on your face from all the botox. They do see what you are doing, though, and that is an attempt to distract from your poor record in the House, from your hyper-partisan antics, your disdain for the American people and your inability to hold accountable people like Charlie Rangel. You’re third in line to the Presidency but you are hardly capable of running a country when you can’t keep your own House in order.
Now let’s watch her delivery (no actual tears):
Would Pelosi have fared better if she had taken a cue from Hillary Clinton and let her voice waver a little longer?
Pete Sessions (R-TX) cuts to the chase when responding to Nancy Pelosi: (bold emphasis, mine)
“Speaker Pelosi is right that the American people are upset, but it is her own words that continue to fuel voter frustration in America,” said Sessions, R-Texas. “No longer content with criticizing concerned citizens for being ‘un-American,’ the Speaker is now likening genuine opposition to assassination. Such insulting rhetoric not only undermines the credibility of her office, but it underscores the desperate attempt by her party to divert attention away from a failing agenda. During one of the most important policy debates of our time, the American people have been completely abandoned by those elected representatives under her control. Voters are justifiably frustrated with Washington, and the Speaker’s verbal assault on voters accomplishes nothing other than furthering her reputation for being wildly out of touch with the American people.“
Nancy Pelosi should concentrate on bringing more decorum to the House of Representatives by:
- not accusing everyday Americans of carrying Nazi symbols,
- not calling government-run health care opponents un-American and
- not equating valid concerns within the health care debate as inciting violence.
As a nation, we expect more from our leaders. Step it up, Speaker Pelosi, or step down.