Pelosi’s Reichstag Fire or Liberum Veto?
On August 1, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dissolved Congress to prevent debate, let alone a vote, on repeal of laws against offshore oil exploration. Was Pelosi’s motive to deliberately damage the U.S. economy, destroy jobs, and perpetuate hardships (like high gasoline prices and high food prices) for the American middle class to get desperate Americans to vote for “change,” much as desperate Germans voted for “change” in the early 1930s?
It is well known that a bad economy works against the incumbent party. Even though Herbert Hoover did not cause the Great Depression–this was the fault of speculators who thought stock prices would rise forever, just as people recently thought that house prices and dot-com stocks would go up forever–voters blamed him because he happened to be President. The mentality is similar to that of primitive societies that blamed the king, chief, or whomever for natural disasters. Pelosi doubtlessly thinks that improvements in the economy will help McCain, so it is in her interests to sabotage the economy of the United States to prevent any improvements before Election Day.
How would repeal of a ban on offshore drilling help the economy even though oil might not be forthcoming for several years? Oil prices depend not only on current demand but expectations about future demand. A repeal of the offshore drilling ban would cause the market to expect greater supplies in the future, which could easily send prices tumbling. This would in turn help every part of the U.S. economy that depends on oil.
We might be tempted to compare Pelosi’s sabotage of her own country’s economy for political gain to the Reichstag Fire, which shut down Germany’s government under convenient circumstances for the Nazis, but Godwin’s Law comes to mind. Godwin’s Law says that, if you have to compare your opponents to Hitler or Nazis, you have no real arguments (unless of course they are really Nazis or acting like Nazis).
It is therefore better to compare Pelosi’s shutdown of Congress to Janus Radziwill’s orchestration of a liberum veto to shut down the Polish Sejm (Parliament) in 1652, for the express purpose of paralyzing the Polish government. Three years later, Radziwill became a Quisling when he collaborated with Swedes who invaded Poland. Like Janus Radzwill, it seems that Nancy Pelosi is willing to sabotage her own country for political gain. It is time to remind voters that Democrats are the incumbents in both houses of Congress, and that Pelosi is hurting real people–including working people who think the Democrats represent the working person–to advance her own agenda.