Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Nancy Pelosi, Congress’s shining light

In the spirit of the historic transparency and bipartisanship that the current administration has given us, I wanted to spend some time focusing on how we got to this point as a country, by attributing our successes to all of the great work done by Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. Her work has been so great that it will no doubt ensure Democrats retaining their majorities in Congress in 2010.

Since the day Pelosi became Speaker of the House in 2006, she has accomplished many notable things in addition to being the first woman to hold the position. One such accomplishment I am sure will never be matched by any conservative, is the record approval ratings she has guided Congress to. On multiple occasions under Pelosi’s leadership, she has managed to get the approval rating of congress to 18 percent, both in May of 2008 and August 2007 according to Gallup.

For most politicians, accomplishing these kinds of historic approval ratings would be enough, but not for Nancy Pelosi. On the day of her acceptance speech as Speaker, before she even knew she would lead an historic Congress, she set mile high goals for herself and her congressional counterparts. I feel it doesn’t get talked about enough and I would like to examine just how successful Pelosi has been as Speaker using her own lofty standards.

One of the most important things Pelosi thought to say during her acceptance speech in 2006 was the following, “I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship, and I look forward to working with you Mr. Boehner and the Republicans in the Congress on behalf of the American people.” She clearly set out to accomplish “partnership” with Republicans and she has quietly accomplished this goal.

Take House Minority Leader John Boehner’s veiw of her speech from September 28, 2008 when she tried to gain support for a vote on the Wall Street rescue plan: “I do believe that we could have gotten there today, had it not been for the partisan speech that the Speaker gave on the floor of the House.” What has all the bipartisanship from Pelosi led to? Look no further then the recent health care reform passed by the House supported by a whopping one Republican. Needless to say, both parties have come together as one under Pelosi and had it not been for her leadership, that vote would never have been possible.

But Pelosi’s leadership is not defined by bipartisanship alone. Her successes reach far beyond that. She also demanded fiscal responsibility from Congress after the fiscal recklessness of Bush and his fellow Republicans. She said this in her acceptance speech, which I believe she has stuck to 100 percent since the day she became Speaker: “After years of historic deficits, this 110th Congress will commit itself to a higher standard: pay as you go, no new deficit spending. Our new America will provide unlimited opportunity for future generations, not burden them with mountains of debt.”

Clearly you can see Pelosi and her fellow Democrats knew the historic deficits of Bush were far too big for our future generations to handle. She knew spending money we don’t have was an unsustainable policy. That is of course why she made it one of their top priorities to balance the budget.

When voters think about their decisions heading into the upcoming elections of 2010 and 2012, the fact that Pelosi has overseen Congress pass legislation that has led to the largest deficit of all time should be ignored. Voters should also ignore the fact that the deficit is now so big that it is larger then all the deficits of past administrations combined. These facts should be ignored because this clearly isn’t Pelosi’s fault at all. She set goals for herself and her Congress, and she has worked her hardest to meet all of them.

As anyone can see, my disdain for Pelosi in the past has clearly been unwarranted. My attacks on her work as Speaker have always been without merit. She wanted Congress to work together and she has accomplished it. She rightfully attacked Bush for deficit spending and she has worked daily to shrink it. Congress’ record approval ratings under her leadership only reinforce that point. It is uninformed idiots like me who still attack her, even knowing all of these feats, that don’t get that this is the direction the country wants. This is a moderate country leaning left. Pelosi understands that, and her leadership is going to ensure majorities in 2010 and 2012 for Democrats.

Alex Perry is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].

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