Budowsky: Speaker Pelosi rises to the occasion

Budowsky: Speaker Pelosi rises to the occasion
© Stefani Reynolds

In my view, Rep. Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food Andrew Yang condemns attacks against Asian Americans Congress in lockdown: Will we just 'get used to it'? MORE (D-Calif.) will go down in history as the best and most consequential Speaker of the House since the legendary giant Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.), who served when I was honored to begin working for the House Democratic leadership.

Pelosi is the highest-ranking woman to ever serve in the national government, which I hope will change with the election of a Democratic president and vice president in 2020, months after a great celebration of the 100th anniversary of women being granted the right to vote.

Pelosi performed superbly when she was Speaker during the first two years of the Obama presidency. The House under her leadership passed a strong agenda of progressive legislation, including the public option in the House version of ObamaCare that would have been a landmark reform of health care had it been enacted into law then.


Continuing the aggression of Republicans who habitually attack and often slander the highest-ranking women in the Democratic Party, such as Pelosi and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillicon Valley: China implicated in Microsoft breach | White House adds Big Tech critic | QAnon unfazed after false prediction Jill Biden redefines role of first lady QAnon supporters unfazed after another false prediction MORE, Pelosi has been vilified and demeaned with a never-ending onslaught of vindictive partisan GOP attacks over the last decade. And she triumphed! 

During the hugely historic midterm elections of 2018, the dominant GOP campaign themes were President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump announces new tranche of endorsements DeSantis, Pence tied in 2024 Republican poll Lawmakers demand changes after National Guard troops at Capitol sickened from tainted food MORE desperately trying to appeal to hatred and fear against Latin American migrants he pretended were invading America in a so-called caravan he forgot about the day after the election, and GOP attempts to demonize Pelosi in House races across America.

The midterm elections constituted a historic repudiation of Trump and mandate for House Democrats that enabled Pelosi to replace Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonSenators introduce bill creating technology partnerships to compete with China Edie Falco to play Hillary Clinton in Clinton impeachment series Website shows 3D models of every Oval Office design since 1909 MORE as the Democrat’s greatest “comeback kid.” It is delightful for Democrats that Pelosi’s favorable ratings have risen and now tower over the favorable ratings of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell makes failed bid to adjourn Senate after hours-long delay Paul Ryan to host fundraiser for Cheney amid GOP tensions Senate Democrats near deal to reduce jobless boost to 0 MORE (R-Ky.).

On fundamental matters such as spending, taxing and investigations Pelosi is not only America’s leading bulwark of checks and balances against the dangers and abuses of Trump, she is now — in the hard world of power politics in Washington — a personal, political, psychological and constitutional equal of Trump, at least.

Trump cannot spend one penny of appropriated money without approval from Pelosi and House Democrats, though Senate Republicans are now considering whether they should submit to Trump asserting monarchical power to destroy the constitutional responsibilities of the Senate and House.

Trump cannot pass one more tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, or one more tax loophole for America’s most powerful corporations, without approval from Pelosi and House Democrats. Trump and Trump opponents both know that honest oversight has come back to life under Pelosi and House Democrats. More scandals will be uncovered, more cover-ups will end, and more wrongs will be exposed and ultimately righted because of Pelosi and House Democrats.

Pelosi is right about impeachment. For now all Americans should await more revelations, evidence and facts from multiple federal, state and congressional investigations advancing at a rapid pace.

Ernest Hemingway advised that writers should write one true sentence. Here is one profoundly true sentence that I would counsel every House Democrat, and all others, to consider:

Pelosi has soared to the skies with her extraordinary ability to successfully negotiate with Trump, which has been nothing short of transcendently brilliant and powerfully effective from the moment she took the gavel as Speaker.

Democrats should have high confidence in a Speaker who has wielded the powers of the House and the principles of true Democrats, from legislation to investigations, in ways that were honorable and skillful and highly effective for House Democrats and all Democrats.

Regarding Pelosi’s leadership as Speaker, there is one additional true sentence I would counsel every House Democrat to consider.

All speakers always remember the urgency of preserving their party’s majority. House Democrats could gain seats in 2020. But to preserve their majority they must be intensely focused on reelecting dozens of new members who won miraculous victories in 2018 from districts without long histories of electing Democrats. 

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.