By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
My colleague, Peter Roff, quotes a Democratic state senator from West Virginia as striking out against powerful U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just as this guy is launching his campaign for the Democratic nomination for a U.S. House seat. Peter Roff says his Mike Oliverio wields clout in West Virginia and this is nothing for Speaker Pelosi to scoff at:
West Virginia State Sen. Mike Oliverio, who hopes to unseat veteran Rep. Alan Mollohan in the May 11 Democratic primary, said this week that he hoped “there will be a better candidate than Nancy Pelosi” running for the speakership when the House votes to organize itself next January.
And I say, “Yeah, right.”
Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful House speaker in some time and possibly one of the most powerful speakers in American history. While I don’t agree with healthcare reform, her passage of it was accomplished single-handedly when her Democratic colleagues in Congress and the president himself had given up. Several women in the House have told me that after the election of Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown, Congressional leaders took that as a sign they should back off from healthcare reform. But Pelosi moved forward and told them, “We can do this.” She has also presided over and pushed through other huge pieces of legislation: an economic recovery package, an environmental reform package, and now Congress hopes to complete action on financial reform.
Pelosi is as responsible for the Democratic takeover of the House in 2006 as Newt Gingrich was for the Republican takeover in 1994. Each of these speakers went around the country and sought out strong candidates to run for office in swing districts. They each raised millions in campaign funds to help fledgling politicians. Gingrich received a ton of applause for his work. Pelosi has yet to be recognized for hers.
Anyone who takes on Pelosi before s/he’s even elected to the House is striking out for publicity, but not from a position of common sense.