No Little Plans

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is quoted in the morning newspapers saying, “I am here to save the planet.” In other word, no drilling offshore. No drilling in ANWR. No drilling where the oil is.

Pelosi is doing a slew of media interviews to promote her new book, Know Your Power. Haven’t had a chance to read the book, but I am sure it will be an interesting read.

And it is good to know that her current political goal is something small, like saving the planet. No. 2 on her list is achieving world peace and No. 3 is curing the common cold. It should be pretty much all achievable for her. After all, she knows her power, as the book says.

Nancy Pelosi has done an impressive job of keeping her Democratic colleagues in line. Through charm, intimidation and old–fashioned power politics, Pelosi has imposed a level of discipline that makes Tom DeLay jealous.

It is not clear how successful these efforts have been, however. The approval ratings for Congress are at about 11 percent, much lower than President’s Bush’s, and at about the same level as Osama bin Laden’s.

Pelosi’s brand of intense partisanship, combined with a passionate liberal orthodoxy, makes compromise hard to her. When she does allow compromise to happen, as in many of the war-spending bills, she votes no as a way to signal her protest.

But it is her protest against energy production that could end up hurting her party in November. Even people in San Francisco are tired of $4-a-gallon gas. By refusing to move on domestic production, she is putting a lot of her more endangered colleagues in even more danger.

The Chicago architect Daniel Burnham once said, “Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir man’s blood.” Speaker Pelosi has taken that advice to heart. Make no little plans like increasing the domestic production of energy. Stick to the big plans like achieving world peace and saving the planet.

Let's see how the voters like those big plans this fall.


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