Nancy Pelosi Put Herself and her Party Above her Country

The tragedy of Nancy Pelosi’s self-serving and partisan speech on the failed legislation to restore the nation’s credit markets is that its technical content was largely correct. Had Pelosi not insisted on gratifying her own ego and spleen by getting in a dig at Republicans and the Bush Administration, the bill might have passed.

    It is a crisis that freezes credit, causes families to lose their homes, cripples small businesses, and makes it harder to find jobs. It is a crisis that never had to happen. It is now the duty of every member of this body to recognize that the failure to act responsibly, with full protections for the American taxpayer, would compound the damage already done to the financial security of millions of American families. …The corporate CEOs whose companies will benefit from the public’s participation in this recovery must not benefit by exorbitant salaries and golden parachute retirement bonuses.

It is hard to disagree with this. Much as the banks that made bad loans deserve to fail, and much as people who bought homes they could not possibly afford (especially speculators) deserve to lose them, the credit crisis has already affected millions of innocent bystanders. As an example, responsible businesses that rely on lines of credit now have liquidity problems, and responsible banks cannot get overnight loans from other banks because no one wants to lend to anybody. Most of Pelosi’s speech conformed to the wisdom of Macaulay’s Horatius.

    Then none was for a party;
    Then all were for the state;
    Then the great man helped the poor,
    And the poor man loved the great:

“Most” is, however, not good enough. The presence of one fly in an otherwise perfect meal will usually result in a disgusted customer instead of a delighted one, and Nancy Pelosi just couldn’t resist garnishing her presentation with the equivalent of excrement. Had she not tainted her entire presentation with digs at the President–who played a significant role in bringing representatives of both parties together to put a bill together–along with an obvious endorsement of Barack Obama, the legislation might have passed.

    It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration’s failed economic policies: policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system. Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital. But left to its own devices, it has created chaos.

    Today we will act to avert this crisis, but informed by our experience of the past eight years, with the failed economic leadership that has left us less capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

    …We choose a different path. In the new year, with a new Congress and a new president, we will break free with a failed past and take America in a new direction to a better future.

  1. “…but informed by our experience of the past eight years, with the failed economic leadership that has left us less capable of meeting the challenges of the future.” And where was your leadership, Ms. Speaker of the House, when all of this was going on? Perhaps the whole thing was above your pay grade, just as important matters are above Barack Hussein Obama’s pay grade.
  2. A time of national emergency, when passage of bipartisan legislation is necessary to restore the operation of credit markets, is not the time to talk about Democrats or Republicans, or to bash the leader of the other party–especially not after he played a central role in bringing Democrats and Republicans together to agree on the legislation. It is a time to act as the Romans did when they had to destroy a bridge to keep the enemy from using it:
    The Consul was the foremost man
    To take in hand an axe:
    And Fathers mixed with Commons
    Seized hatchet, bar, and crow,
    And smote upon the planks above,
    And loosed the props below.

Thanks to Nancy Pelosi’s decision to use a national emergency as an occasion to slap the President and talk about Democrats as opposed to Americans, many Republicans who might otherwise have supported the legislation voted against it. We are also uncomfortable with the fact that, less than two months ago, Pelosi dismissed Congress to prevent consideration of legislation to allow offshore oil drilling. Such legislation would probably have dropped oil prices, thus bringing relief to millions of American consumers and also energy-dependent businesses. There are times and places at which it is appropriate for Nancy Pelosi to work for Barack Obama’s election, but the floor of the U.S. Congress during an economic crisis is neither the right time or place. We hope that Pelosi’s motives do not involve deliberate sabotage of the U.S. economy to get desperate Americans to vote for “change” in November but, whatever her motives might be, the bottom line effect is the same. As lamented by Macaulay,

    Now Roman is to Roman
    More hateful than a foe,
    And the Tribunes beard the high,
    And the Fathers grind the low.
    As we wax hot in faction,
    In battle we wax cold:
    Wherefore men fight not as they fought
    In the brave days of old.

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