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Attack of the Pelosicrats By: Lowell Ponte
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, November 14, 2002


"Just how far out on the Loony Left is Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.), expected on Thursday to be elected House Minority Leader and successor to Rep. Richard Gephardt (D.-Mo.) by her Democratic comrades? One clue comes from the establishment media, which describes even Lefty Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass.) as a "moderate" but firmly labels Pelosi, 62, a "Liberal," defining her as more gauche than Teddy.

"The ‘Democratic Socialists of America’ are the U.S. arm of the Socialist International," writes Balint Vazsonyi in Tuesday’s Washington Times. "58 members of the U.S. House of Representatives formed a subdivision of the Democratic Socialists of America and called it the Progressive Caucus."

[The Democratic Socialists of America were recruiting young socialists from across America to trek to Minnesota for the November 5 election, take advantage of the Gopher State’s same-day voter registration, and pile up votes to reelect another Progressive Caucus member, Senator Paul Wellstone.]

"Rep. Nancy Pelosi," Vazsonyi continues, "has long been, and is now, a member of the executive committee of the Progressive Caucus. Her election as minority leader would firmly establish the link between the Democratic Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Socialist International."

"The country [on November 5] moved somewhat to the right," said Rep. Martin Frost (D.-Texas) last week in challenging Pelosi for House party leadership. "I believe our party must occupy the center if we are to be successful, if we’re to come back to the majority, and not move farther to the left. It’s a clear choice….. There are an awful lot of Democrats who are very uneasy about the party moving sharply to the left."

Frost is, of course, correct. Fifty-four percent of Democrats interviewed in the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll say that their party, even prior to Pelosi’s seizure of power, has become "too liberal." This majority of rank-and-file Democrats recognize that their party is too extreme, and the November 5 election revealed that more moderate and conservative Americans agree with them.

But less than 48 hours after putting his name forward for the House Minority Leader post, Frost withdrew and threw his support to Pelosi, the current Democratic House Whip and dominatrix. His letter of surrender had the tone of a man who had been taken into a back room and shown the Vise-Gripä pliers and other instruments of torture that would be used to geld him if he refused to submit immediately.

How Leftist is Pelosi? By conventional measures, in 2000 Rep. Pelosi received her usual perfect 100 rating from the very, very liberal Americans for Democratic Action and 92 percent approval for her votes from the American Civil Liberties Union. The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), National Rifle Association (NRA), and National Taxpayer’s Union (NTU) all give her their lowest possible ratings. For her 2001 votes, the American Conservative Union (ACU) rated her Zero out of 100 possible points, moving leftward from her lifetime average ACU rating of two points out of 100.

(But Congressman Frost is also far left of center, receiving the same worst possible NRLC, NRA and NTU score as Pelosi. He has moved slightly to the right with a 2000 ACU rating of 25, up from his lifetime average of 16, but his constituents are Texans, not San Franciscans. Pelosi strongly opposes the death penalty while Frost mildly supports it, but on virtually every other issue their views and voting records are quite similar.)

Pelosi, a nominal Roman Catholic, favors not just abortion but partial birth abortion at taxpayer expense for young girls without the permission or even notification of their parents. But this is the only kind of "choice" Pelosi favors.

She zealously opposes school vouchers, free trade (except with Fidel Castro’s Cuba), war against Saddam Hussein (even as every Presidential aspirant Democrat lawmaker voted for it – including Hillary Clinton, who now appears more "moderate" thanks to Pelosi’s extremism), tax cuts and worker rights to be free from union bosses.

"During the recent lockout of workers at West Coast ports," wrote Buffalo News reporter Douglas Turner, "Pelosi vocally sided with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and against Bush." She supported this union whose workers get paid up to $141,000 per year, despite the economic terrorism this work stoppage was causing in her own San Francisco and other Pacific Coast ports. This stoppage was preventing stores from receiving Christmas merchandise, making Pelosi "the Democrat who stole Christmas."

Almost the only topic on which she deviates from the cartoon stereotype of a San Francisco politically-correct Leftist is Communist China. Pelosi, unlike Frost, favors linking U.S. trade agreements and concessions to Beijing’s acceptance of human rights in both China and occupied Tibet.

Her position may come partly from principle, partly from fear that trade with the U.S. will move China from communism to capitalism, and partly because her pose wins applause from a wide spectrum of trade protectionists and populists, including certain labor unions and Pat Buchanan. It also gives her a fig leaf against accusations of being closer to red than red-white-and-blue.

If Nancy Pelosi becomes the public face of the congressional Democratic Party, say some Republican activists, her extremism will drive away moderate voters and potentially even cause one or more members of Congress to switch to the Republican Party.

[But her fellow hyper-Leftist, retiring Progressive Caucus member David "Baghdad" Bonior (D.-Mich.) strongly supports Pelosi’s takeover. So almost certainly too does Democratic policy director Barbra Streisand, at whose pink lotus feet Pelosi has at least twice made pilgrimage humbly to Hollywood to sit in adoration.]

By making Pelosi their leader in Thursday’s secret ballot, many Democrats will be thanking her for the $8 million she raised during the latest election cycle, much of which was spread around to members who lacked her safe, gerrymandered 80 percent Democratic district. ("Her congressional district gave Al Gore a 61-point margin over President Bush," notes Wall Street Journal columnist Pete DuPont, "and the president outpolled Ralph Nader by a mere six points.")

Part of this money was dirty, coming from Pelosi illegally operating two Political Action Committees, one more than the law allowed.

Why did she raise all this campaign money unnecessary for her own re-election? According to the Center for Voting and Democracy, she used it to buy and own the votes and loyalty of other members of Congress, just as she often accused corporations of doing, thereby perverting democracy.

But by selecting her, Democrats might be turning themselves into an insecure, out-of-power party for years or even decades to come. Pelosi will become a perfect poster girl for Republicans, helping the GOP raise more donations than Hillary or Bill ever dreamed of getting.

Many signs point to the weakening of the Democratic Party, which has become little more than a gang of greedy and selfish special interest groups. Black support for the party is weakening, reports the Washington Post. Black disillusionment has doubtless increased in the wake of November 5 and the Democratic Party’s lack of support for – and many say betrayal of – African-American candidates and concerns in Nevada and Louisiana and New York.

Voters under age 30 now identify themselves as Republicans by 30 to 26 percent Democrat, writes Michael Barone, and this rising generation prefers private sector over government solutions.

To add to this bleak future for the Democratic Party, adds Barone, America’s up-and-coming Latino community, already America’s biggest minority group, likes President George W. Bush and is losing affection for the Democrats.

And, of course, the Democratic Party that built its New Deal power on yellow dog white Southerner votes has for decades watched this part of its coalition switch to the Republican Party. This has prompted Southern Democrats to move left in an effort to attract minority voters, thereby alienating conservatives of every skin color. Democratic analysts blame some losses on November 5, the New York Times reported, on their party’s failure to win moderate whites.

Democrats were hard enough to stomach when they ruled the roost as winners, using their power to extort money from corporations and punishing those, like Microsoft, who refused to pay the bribes. Now Democrats look like losers, increasingly perceived as a brain-dead party in decline, devoid of new ideas and able to win mostly by imitating Republicans or cheating.

The only new Senate seat won November 5 by Democrats was in Arkansas, where Mark Pryor beat a Republican who divorced his wife to marry a staffer. Pryor won with TV ads that showed himself holding a Bible, praying with family members around a dinner table, and carrying a gun while hunting in the woods in a scene reminiscent of Bill and Hillary’s notorious duck hunting media stunt.

For Democrats – members of America’s anti-God secularist party – it must been galling to see that their only Senate pickup victory came from a candidate who cross-dressed as a Republican. [They must have felt relieved when, days after the election, it came to light that Pryor had knowingly employed a low-paid illegal alien for whom he withheld no Social Security taxes. Beneath his disguise, Pryor has the morals and lawfulness of a modern Democrat.]

Who wants to be part of a party rife with scum, sleaze and selfishness? Who wants to get or stay on board a sinking ship from which millions of Democ-rats are fleeing?

To counter such problems, Pelosi last week declared that her priority as House Minority Leader shall be "children, children, children." (One of her own five children, Alexandra, made the affecting recent HBO documentary about President Bush, "Journeys with George.")

"Where does security against terrorism fit into that list?" asks Newsweek’s menopausal Leftist Jonathan Alter (a.k.a. "Eleanor Clift in drag").

"The Democrats are increasingly perceived as the ‘mommy’ party and the Republicans as the ‘daddy’ party,’" Alter continues. "Unfortunately, it’s a ‘daddy’ era. Bush has more trust on national security issues, but Democrats must at least cut into his lead on that front." His ardent left wing twitching, Alter grimly recommends to Democrats that to win they need to "Stay Centrist," something an empowered Pelosi could find difficult to do.

But the pro-Pelosi argument is that her clear-cut Leftist politics are the party’s better way to stop the Democratic Party’s ongoing political hemorrhage before its lifeblood is gone.

Here’s my guess at how the pro-Pelosi reasoning in Democratic (marijuana, not tobacco) smoke-filled rooms goes: to survive, every political party needs its base, its hard-core ideological activists.

In the 2002 off-year election, facing popular wartime President George W. Bush and his popular tax cuts, Democrat politicians tried to blur rather than sharpen their differences with the Republicans. This drained the enthusiasm of Democrat activists, a crucial percentage of whom stayed home on election day.

Republicans remained the minority party in Congress during the decades they campaigned as "Democrat Light." Victory came only when Newt Gingrich and his activists were willing to fight, draw sharp lines, and become confrontational. Democrats looking for their own Newt Gingrich are now likely to give Pelosi a try. At a minimum she should strengthen their appeal to single (but not married, who tend to vote Republican) women.

(As a fake feminist, Pelosi forgot about abused and used women victims when she went to the mat to give cover to not only smarmy Bill Clinton but also her fellow California congressional Democratic comrade Gary Condit.)

One risk for Democrats, of course, is that fighting and confrontation appeal more to men [now leaving the party in droves] than women. Pelosi may have too much testosterone for the job.

"We have to be careful," warns Rep. Anthony Weiner (D.-N.Y.) about Pelosi, "not to create a leadership figure that becomes so strident, so confrontational that they become Gingrichian." (If the likely Republican Speaker becomes Gingrich disciple Tom DeLay, called by Democrats "the Hammer," how long will it take before people nickname Pelosi "the Hammer and Sickle"?)

The New York Times will have to slant every story that mentions Pelosi to conceal her "Queen of Mean" side and switchblade alley fighter nature. Once the public sees through Pelosi’s Goo-Goo disguise, her media accomplices’ puffery propaganda for her will lose credibility.

Pelosi is ideological but is not a blind ideologue. Her former congressman father Tom D’Alesandro and brother Tom III have both been Mayors of rough-and-tumble Baltimore, and she grew up watching them wheel, deal, and make compromises. Her skill and reputation for relentless hard work should not be underestimated.

The old adage in two-party politics will likely prove true: if you want politics to move to the right, elect a leftist – and vice versa. Here’s why. To win and sustain power, a candidate or party must capture the middle, where the game-winning 20 percent of undecided voters tend to be. To get to this center, a rightist must move left, and a leftist must move right.

A politician with a reliable base has the ability to move towards the center. Thus, to use the most commonly cited example, only an established liberal like John F. Kennedy would have dared put the first 16,000 armed troops into Vietnam; any Republican trying to do this would have faced liberal opposition, but as a liberal JFK faced no such opposition. On the other side, only a Republican with proven anti-Communist credentials such as Richard Nixon could have risked making the diplomatic opening to Communist China.

If a moderate Democrat such as blue dog Harold Ford, Jr. (D.-Tenn.), 32, now challenging Pelosi, became leader and tried to command the Leftist base of the party to become more moderate, it would revolt. Many would bolt and start voting for the leftist Green Party.

[If Pelosi defeats Ford on Thursday, however, this will further disillusion black Democrats. They rightly will ask why a white woman was favored over this bright African-American moderate who grew up amid lawmakers as the son of a liberal Memphis Congressman. Ford will be just another black shoved to the back of the bus, the fate of almost all blacks in a Democratic Party that depends on black votes.]

But if a proven hard-core Leftist like Nancy Pelosi becomes House Minority Leader, Leftist voters and politicians would be much more likely to remain loyal Democrats, even if she leads them to more moderate positions on issues. (Look how much Clinton-elected socialist Tony Blair has done to moderate Britain’s Labour Party while assimilating some winning aspects of Margaret Thatcher’s Tory revolution.)

Because of her impeccable Leftist credentials, relatively few would denounce Pelosi as a Judas Goat leading them to the slaughter of their ideals.

Pelosi might, therefore, be a logical choice for a Democratic Party whose greatest fear is the loss of its activist, Leftist base of supporters. Upon this base Democrats have built their current party, and if it disappears they might be unable to replace it with more moderate supporters whose views inspire less passion.

The most important thing, as Barry Goldwater supporters demonstrated after the Republican schism and defeat of 1964, is to survive. Sooner or later the other major party’s leaders will grow old or otherwise lose popularity. If your party can survive and find charismatic fresh leaders, then when the other party wears out its welcome the nation will turn to you.

The Republicans found Richard Nixon, who skillfully positioned himself to bring GOP factions back together in 1968, and then in the wake of Jimmy Carter’s disastrous administration won a conservative mandate in 1980 with Ronald Reagan. The challenge for Democrats is to survive, lick their wounds, and sustain their old base until a bigger one coalesces.

Why is such a base vital? My theory is that American politics is centrifugal, a grand historical spin that every 50-100 years or so causes the two major parties to switch places ideologically. The most energetic and activist members of both parties are those farthest from the center – presently Leftists in the Democratic Party and Conservatives in the Republican Party.

But whether from right or left, as one moves towards the political center both energy and movement decrease. Those who reach dead center between right and left become listless, almost inert, and lack the energy or enthusiasm even to bother voting on most election days. To those who are politically equidistant from both sides, what difference does it make if one side wins or the other loses?

These, of course, are the potential voters who can be gotten to the polls only through the energy of the base and its activists’ passion. This is why when a party loses its base, it falls.

Unless and until soul-searching leads Democrats to new, non-socialist visions and values that attract Americans, Nancy Pelosi might be the most authentic socialist leader they can find. She might revitalize the Democratic Party. Or more likely, as one pundit has said, she will turn it into a duller, less successful Green Party.

"We’ve got the left turn signal on," said Georgia’s sole surviving Democratic Senator Zell Miller, whose moderation makes him an endangered species in his own party. "And we’re headed down another rabbit hole to political oblivion."

Historians may record that the last monarch of this vanished politically-correct Wonderland was the imperious Red Queen Nancy Pelosi.


Mr. Ponte co-hosts a national radio talk show Monday through Friday 6-8 PM Eastern Time (3-5 PM Pacific Time) on the Genesis Communications Network. Internet Audio worldwide is at GCNlive .com. The show's live call-in number is 1-800-259-9231. A professional speaker, he is a former Roving Editor for Reader's Digest.


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