Monday, October 18, 2010

Why Pelosi's defeat would be the nation's loss



By JONATHAN WOLFMAN
Contributor

Nancy Pelosi may lose her position as speaker and, conceiveably, she may lose her congressional seat. If she does, it will be a palpable loss.
 We have health reform, even if imperfect, because a woman, this woman, is speaker. 


When Scott Brown of Massachusetts upended the Senate's Democratic supermajority last January, then-White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emmanuel and President Obama considered seriously scaling back the content and speed of reform.  Pelosi, so keenly aware of what the bill would mean for women's and children's health, now and forever, cleared it up for them both, repeatedly and in person and in exceedingly  strong terms.

 She also cleared it up for pro-choice House women in the final run-up to the vote. As late as that afternoon she was putting to those colleagues, one-on-one, colleague after colleague, one simple stark and right question: 
Do you really want to be the woman  who kills this bill simply because  some male Democratic congressmen  need written affirmation that the Hyde Amendment (forbidding tax dollars for abortion and  already law for 34 years)  still holds?
 That Pelosi succeeded at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue in the midst of the most contentious domestic policy debate of the past two generations, saving the debate and the vote (and, arguably, her president) is a measure of the woman. That she accomplished this is among the most potent lessons we will ever see: never, ever give up or give in.
      

 Justice demands of all of us the speaker's vision, brilliance, tenacity, and guts.

--
Jonathan Wolfman blogs at http://open.salon.com/blog/jlw where this article first appeared.

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