Speaker Pelosi's Magic Moment

Wouldn't it be amazing if the first woman Speaker redefines national politics and regains the high ground for Democrats on national defense and national security?

The truth is, the Speaker comes from a family of old-fashioned values and traditional standards and views America as a larger family and shared community.

The Speaker is a woman of faith, a grandma, mother, daughter, and wife. In her world, all Americans are security moms and security dads; all Americans are military moms and military dads.

For military families, it's a family affair. The Speaker's daughter Christine Pelosi is a strong advocate for vets and troops in her own right, and initiated a major program for vets through the Democratic National Committee.

If the Speaker leads an unprecedented battle for better treatment of our troops and vets she will transform American politics and can seize the high ground on national security for many years to come.

Last week the president reacted to the Iraq vote in the House by showing scorn and contempt for the constitutional role of the Congress and using American troops as political props, while subjecting wounded troops to the greatest scandal in the history of miiltary and veteran policy.

This week the president let loose an angry outburst and returned to the tactic of attacking the patriotism of those who have shown far more support for our troops than he ever has.

This president sends troops to fight to the death in Iraq while at home he fights for the tax cuts of the upper tax brackets. Meanwhile, he shortchanges our troops on armor, vehicles and equipment, which results in preventable casualties.

This president surrounds himself with hand-picked troops for political photo ops while he allows the wounded to come home to rats, mice, bats, leaky roofs, creaky floors, urine and feces -- and allows them to be intimidated, threatened and punished for seeking the minimum standard of civilized treatment.

This president would be well-advised to spend more time honoring the KIA by attending their funerals, without worrying about the photo scenes, and spending more time at Walter Reed and military centers. He should end the wrong and shameful derelictions against wounded troops that continue under his policies, on his watch.

Speaker Pelosi can change the face of national politics with a historic, aggressive, in-your-face response to the president by demanding and fighting for first-class treatment for troops in combat, wounded troops that come home, homeless heroes who served our country and too often live on our streets, and all vets who face long-term needs and are at the mercy of underfunded programs.

It is ironic that those who oppose the policies of the president show far more concern for troops and vets than the man who uses them as political props and shortchanges them in real-life action.

It is wrong that the president responsible for the failed policies of war, and the shameful derelictions of care, criticizes Democrats who have fought far harder than he has, for troops and for vets.

The Speaker should go the distance for troops, vets and military families. Hold field hearings across the nation. Pass legislation that is far more comprehensive, responsible and long-term than anything under discussion today. Ask the American people to consider what they can do for our troops and vets, and then do it.

The president is obsessed with tax cuts for upper-income earners. We are obsessed with getting armor and vehicles to troops and giving them first-class care when they come home.

The Speaker should fight the president on behalf of our troops and vets, every hour, day, every week, in every forum, issue by issue, program by program, even if it means keeping the House in session seven days a week until these issues are addressed.

Military families and military communities are the smartest and most educated voters and citizens on earth. Because those they love have their lives on the line, they follow these issues hour by hour and they know the truth, fact by fact.

If the Speaker stands up for them more than any other Speaker in history, if the Democratic Congress fights for them more than any other Congress in history, it will be the moral, military, patriotic and political moment of a lifetime.

The first woman Speaker will set a new standard for supporting troops and vets that Americans will honor for a generation to come.