Cheney Beats Pelosi

According to a Gallup poll, the roundly despised (by the media) former Vice President Dick Cheney has higher approval ratings than current Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Thirty-seven percent of the American people approve of Cheney, while only 34 percent approve of Pelosi.

The good news for Republicans and the troubling news for Democrats must be that Cheney’s political career is largely finishing, while Pelosi will be on the ballot in less than two years. Pelosi will also play a big role in the campaigns of several Blue Dogs, even though it is highly likely that she won’t set foot in any of their districts.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has done an admirable job poking Pelosi again and again, trying to get her to apologize to the CIA for calling them a bunch of liars. She is trying to avoid the story, but by refusing to say that she is sorry, she is giving Republican campaign consultants a great opening as next year’s elections unfold.

Pelosi also will not abandon her good friend Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), who managed her campaign as whip and is one of her closest allies in the House. Murtha, though, is facing increasing scrutiny about his connections with sham corporations in his district, his questionable relationships with shady lobbyists and other ethical transgressions.

Pelosi is probably the most liberal Speaker in the history of the House. She runs the chamber with an iron fist, and tends to alienate those who face the toughest reelection fights. Just ask Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) how Pelosi plays in his district.

Vice President Cheney has rebounded like the stock market after leaving the White House with dreadful approval ratings. He has clearly struck a chord by relentlessly hammering the national security theme, surprising the Obama administration and putting liberals back on their heels. Despite what Keith Olbermann might believe, Cheney has real credibility on national security, and when he speaks, the American people listen.

Pelosi, on the other hand, has little credibility as a defense hawk. Her liberal views on security matters are out of step with the views of most Americans, according to polls. Her fight with the CIA was a disaster to her politically, because it undermined whatever credibility she might have had.

The last election was a repudiation of the Bush administration, but it was not a full embrace of liberalism, nor was it a rejection of center-right thought. Pelosi’s perilous position in the national polls — especially as compared to Mr. Cheney — must cause deep concern with her Democratic colleagues on Capitol Hill.


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