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Vail Valley Voices: Demise of the Democrats

The Democratic caucus has elected Nancy Pelosi minority leader of the House of Representatives in the wake of losing 60 seats in the 2010 elections.

Her fellow party members did not hold the former speaker of the house accountable, indicating that the thrashing occurred because of high unemployment.

As the single most important person responsible for the 2008-10 Democratic agenda besides the president, Pelosi did not pay the ultimate price in her own election in California or in caucus deliberations.



Looking back, Nancy Pelosi’s legacy is anything but impressive. On the heels of the financial crisis, she led a controversial and meanspirited populist attack on selected groups of Americans. She orchestrated health care reform that needs to be re-reformed not even a year after its passage. She pushed through financial regulatory reform that doesn’t even address the causes of the economic crisis.

All this took place while the people were crying out for more stimulus and jobs. Pelosi was not an innocent bystander as Democrats lost power. Her dismissal of the people’s will was a primary reason for the Republican ascension in the House.



But, let’s discuss the sensibility of selecting Ms. Pelosi to the highest minority position in the aftermath of the 2010 elections. Americans wanted change, and they wanted accountability. In a corporate setting, Pelosi’s peers would have castigated her leadership, and she would have been stripped of her powers.

Are the Democrats so weak? Is the bench so impotent that no one is qualified to take the place of the humiliated and former speaker and provide new direction? What were House Democrats thinking when they reinstated this woman?

The next two years will be fraught with political warfare and congressional paralysis. The House, under Republican leadership, will surely try to enact legislation that they believe will improve the economy and restore America’s reputation abroad.



Since Democrats still control the Senate and the presidency, no bills of any substance will become law. Similarly, all Democratic initiatives will be stymied as Republican House leaders fulfill a promise to kill legislation proposed by the Obama administration.

Wouldn’t it have made more sense to give another Democrat who the Republicans don’t despise an opportunity to negotiate with the majority?

John Boehner, the new speaker, and his colleagues will surely marginalize Pelosi at every turn.

Democrats failed epically to make a positive impact on the voters during the last two years while in control of the legislative and executive branches.

How can anyone expect better results leading up to the 2012 presidential elections?

With Republicans in control of the House, congressional performance and approval ratings will tumble further, if that’s even possible.

It’s ironic that Democrats have not been able to achieve their destiny since World War II. John F. Kennedy had great potential, and a maniac took his life. Lyndon Johnson’s powerful ideas were overwhelmed by an inane war that cost over 50,000 American lives. Jimmy Carter’s genius was drowned out by inflation, an oil embargo and the Iran hostage situation. Bill Clinton’s libido prevented him from creating a lasting legacy.

And now Obama’s self-importance, arrogance and unwillingness to listen to his constituencies have deflated our high expectations for his future success.

Sal Bommarito is a novelist and frequent visitor to Vail over the past 20 years.


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