Pelosi’s Record

The openly gay and lesbian members of Congress, all Democrats, have endorsed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remain as soon-to-be minority leader in the new Congress, the Washington Blade reports. Her tenure was also praised this week by the Human Rights Campaign, which operates as a Democratic party fundraising machine. But some moderate Democrats and remaining “blue dogs” from swing districts don’t think the ultra-liberal San Franciscan is the best choice going forward, pointing out that she’s “politically toxic” outside of liberal enclaves. That’s probably right.

On gay issues, Pelosi’s achievements were limited to (in my view) a bad federal hate crimes bill and passage of legislation that would have allowed the president to end don’t ask, don’t tell, but which died in the Senate. The Pelosi House never moved on modifying the Defense of Marriage Act (which bars the federal government from recognizing state-sanctioned same-sex unions), or even the liberal-championed Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

From the Blade story:

“Speaker Pelosi has been a consistent ally and advocate not just for LGBT people but for all fair-minded Americans throughout her congressional career,” [Fred Sainz, the Human Rights Campaign’s vice president of communications] said. “She has vigorously supported full and equal rights for LGBT people long before it was politically acceptable to do so.”

But John Aravosis, the gay editor of AMERICAblog, said Pelosi is responsible in part for the lack of progress on pro-LGBT legislation during the first two years of President Obama’s administration. Still, while he said he’s not completely satisfied with Pelosi, Aravosis said other LGBT advocates in power deserve worse job evaluations.

“All of our leaders let us down: HRC, Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi,” Aravosis said. “Having said that, Nancy Pelosi strikes me as the least culpable of the four. I’m not happy that she wasn’t able to even get ENDA through committee, but I’m a lot less happy at the moment with HRC, President Obama and Harry Reid. Pelosi at least came through for us part-way, the others have been MIA the last two years.”

Solely looking at Pelosi from the angle of gay rights advocacy, that view may make sense. But from a larger perspective, she has done a great disservice to the cause of gay equality by helping to cement the perception that pro-gay legislation is part of a broader mega-government, regulatory-state agenda that stems from the left flank of the Democratic party. That perception is not helping to advance our cause, to say the least.

15 Comments for “Pelosi’s Record”

  1. posted by Bobby on

    Why her? She’s a loser, her party lost, she as a horrible majority speaker, she pissed off independents and pretty much everyone. No wonder Rush Limbaugh did a “Driving Miss Nancy” visual parody since Pelosi wants to displace a much senior democrat.

  2. posted by Carl on

    “But from a larger perspective, she has done a great disservice to the cause of gay equality by helping to cement the perception that pro-gay legislation is part of a broader mega-government, regulatory-state agenda that stems from the left flank of the Democratic party.”

    That reputation has been there for a long time and I can’t see it going away anytime soon. I doubt she did anything to make people suddenly see gay rights legislation as being big government liberalism. The first President Bush was talking about “special rights” back when the Democratic leaders were far more conservative than Pelosi.

    • posted by Carl on

      Sorry — I realized that might have been something his son said. I can’t remember if GHW Bush said it when he was President. If not my apologies.

  3. posted by Jorge on

    Solely looking at Pelosi from the angle of gay rights advocacy, that view may make sense. But from a larger perspective, she has done a great disservice to the cause of gay equality by helping to cement the perception that pro-gay legislation is part of a broader mega-government, regulatory-state agenda that stems from the left flank of the Democratic party. That perception is not helping to advance our cause, to say the least.

    Oh. That would seriously shut me up if I found it convincing.

    I’ve always liked Nancy Pelosi. I think she is the victim of a relentless bashing campaign by Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and others. The criticism is deserved, but Pelosi is someone who is very liberal, and able to explain her causes in such a way that it comes across as patriotic and good for all people. She comes across as extremely loyal to her ideology even in political situations (as minority leader and as a leader of a sharply divided House). This is very rare. So where one is liberal, and believes in a progressive coalition including gay rights causes, Nancy Pelosi is invaluable as one of the best political leaders of the progressive coalition.

    On reflection, I think maybe it would be better for the nation if the leader of the House Republicans were a patriotic, middle-of-the-road liberal. It would be difficult because the left tends to be unhappy with anyone to the right of Pelosi.

    “Special rights” definitely sounds like something I’ve heard in my adulthood, I’d say pre-9/11 W. Bush.

    • posted by John D on

      Here’s a quote from the New York Times:

      Michael R. Long, a Brooklyn Conservative, urged his colleagues to ”vote no” on the ground that homosexuals wanted ”special rights,” not civil rights. ”They want us to condone a life style which is against all traditions,” he said.

      That was published on December 11, 1981. So if we’re wondering how long conservatives have been calling gay rights “special rights,” we know that it was at least as far back as 1981. So, we’re talking about a phrase that has been used in this sense for about thirty years. That puts it well before the first Bush and into Reagan’s first term.

      It wasn’t true then. It isn’t true now. I only hope it is less effective than it was back then.

  4. posted by Curt on

    So, now we can rejoice that John Boehner has saved us!

  5. posted by Eva Young on

    Heath Schuler, who is considering running against Pelosi has a voting record which is hostile to gays – and the FRC is one of Schuler’s biggest fans.

  6. posted by avee on

    That the GOP is worse than Pelosi on gay issues (or that Democratic moderates are worse than Pelosi on gay issues) does not absolve Pelosi, Reid and Obama from criticism. In fact, it’s that attitude that allows Pelosi and the Democratic liberal estabishment to take a pass on DOMA (and ENDA, for liberals who support it), and to wait until it’s too late to try to pass DADT reform (just before the elections? Give me a break!).

    It’s the HRC line, and it has given us nothing but a lame hate crimes bill. But I don’t expect that any of the Pelosi cheerleaders are going to actually, you know, re-evaluate their failed strategy. It’s so much easier just to say (all together now) “Yes, but the Republicans are worse!”

  7. posted by BobN on

    If Nancy’s name is “toxic” it is because hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to demonize her. The GOP has been dumping enormous amounts of money in local races to unseat the leadership of the opposition. It’s another craven, unprecedented abuse of our democratic system.

    Had the GOP not abandoned all decency and resorted to scorched-earth tactics in the Senate, everyone would be talking about the enormous volume of legislation that Pelosi pushed through the House. 400+ bills languishing because the GOP has adopted the tactics of the California legislators. BLOCK, BLOCK, BLOCK. Then turn around and accuse your opponents of being ineffectual. It really is shameful.

    As for the blue dogs, someone should point out to them that THEY are the weakest part of the party, they’re the ones the people rejected.

    • posted by North Dallas Thirty on

      The GOP has been dumping enormous amounts of money in local races to unseat the leadership of the opposition. It’s another craven, unprecedented abuse of our democratic system.

      Oh, so spending money is abusing the democratic system?

      Then you should be shrieking at your Pelosi, shill.

      The vast group of House Democrats defeated Tuesday lacked many things, but money wasn’t one of them.

      In two-thirds of the House seats that Republicans picked up Tuesday, Democratic candidates had more money behind them than Republicans, according to a Washington Post analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission.

      Overall, Democratic candidates in the 63 races that flipped to the GOP had $206.4 million behind them, a tally that includes candidate fundraising and spending by parties and interests. That compares to only $171.7 million for their GOP rivals.

      And here’s a prime example.

      The data show that some Republicans were able to win despite being badly outspent in Democratic-leaning districts. Outside Philadelphia, Rep. Patrick J. Murphy (D), the Democratic Party and groups backing them had about three times as much as conservatives and the campaign of former representative Mike Fitzpatrick (R), who Murphy unseated in 2006.

      Murphy’s campaign raised $3.8 million for the race, while Fitzpatrick brought in only $1.6 million. The Democratic Party spent $560,000 on independent expenditures on Murphy’s behalf, about twice as much as the Republican Party spent for Fitzpatrick.

      A raft of liberal interest groups spent an additional $2 million to aid Murphy. Six groups – three labor unions, as well as VoteVets.org, the American Worker and America’s Families First Action Fund – all spent six-figure sums. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest business lobby, spent $170,000 on behalf of Fitzpatrick. Overall, the Republican only got $282,000 from outside groups.

      No surprise that BobN, the Obama Party shill, would be repeating Pelosi’s lies and whines about money. It only shows that gays and lesbians are not interested in facts or honest analysis and merely repeat Obama Party talking points over and over and over again.

  8. posted by avee on

    Sure, BobN, it has nothing to do with the Obama/Pelosi huge government growth and spending program; it’s just that Republicans misled the American people about the Democrats’ Great Achievements. And the defeat of the Blue Dogs wasn’t because swing district voters didn’t want Pelosi and the Democrats to keep control of Congresss. Oh, no, it’s that the party wasn’t lefty enough, so the swing districts rejected the Blue Dogs for being too conservative.

    Yes, that’s right (er, left). Just keep sticking to that Daily Koz party line. Drink all the Kool-Aid.

  9. posted by Carl on

    On the one hand, people say this election wasn’t about gay rights, and then on the other they say Pelosi caused the public to have a more negative opinion of gay rights.

    My guess is that the Democrats will try to find a way to blame this on some social issue, like gay rights, and ignore their other reasons for failing. But I don’t think that the public opinion on these matters affected the vote. I also think that if 90% of the public supported repealing DADT, the GOP still wouldn’t, because it will not suit their base, and because many Republicans in Congress may genuinely oppose the idea.

  10. posted by BobN on

    avee,

    I think the Dems should do just what the GOP did when they got booted out of the House majority last time. And what they did was mostly certainly NOT put the (few remaining) left-leaning moderates in their party in charge.

    Why encourage the goose to do the opposite of what the gander did?

    Could it be blatant hypocrisy? :-)

  11. posted by Jorge on

    Bah. When’s the last time you’ve heard Nancy Pelosi and either bipartisanship or compromise in the same sentence?

    She passed the health care bill and got everything except the public option. Pin a medal on her and call her a hero, because after that travesty, all the goodwill in Washington and toward Washington evaporated.

  12. posted by TommyJ on

    I think the problem was that even through Democrats had a majority, their were enough Republicans and ‘Blue Dog’ Democrats to stall most gay rights bills [I generally support the federal hate crimes bill and President Obama did make some important steps in terms of gay couples and health care]. I suspect that the incoming GOP majority will be generally hostile to gay rights bills.

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