Thursday, July 1, 2010

Nancy Pelosi, The Straw Lady Republicans Love To Hate

Even before she became Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi was a lightening rod for the Republican attack machine, the epitome of a liberal, free-spending Democrat from -- gasp -- San Francisco.

In my family and circle of friends in California, Pelosi is the face of all what is wrong with Democratic liberals for she is seen as an elitist, environmental tree hugger, bleeding heart, anti-war activist, big government advocate and, worst of all, from a city that harbors illegal immigrants and honors homosexuals.

When I ask for specific examples of legislation Pelosi favors, they can name none. My friends and family are not dumb. Those on the right of the political spectrum are following the Republican propaganda machine. Ditto heads.

When I point out to them that as Speaker, Pelosi never lost a vote on any piece of major legislation, they are not in awe.

"With that majority behind her," one family member suggested, "Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb could pass any cocklemanie thing they so desired."

In today's politics, vilifying one's opponent is staple as if displaying cartoons of Pelosi, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Hussein Obama will turn their cause to triumph at the polling booths.

What turned me on to this discussion is a story in Thursday's Washington Post, a new attack ad by the Republican National Committee and a months-old YouTube clip in TV ads used by Republican candidates in a few "red" states.

It features what the Post described as "a colossal tax-dollar-engorged monster who ravages small towns and must be brought down by Republican ray guns." The cartoon version is called "Attack of the 50-Foot Pelosi."

There's a variety of versions of the message the ad offers.

In North Carolina, House candidate Harold Johnson, according to the Post:
"If you're a small-business owner," Johnson says, "you get up every morning and you put your helmet on, because you think that Nancy Pelosi is going to come into your bedroom and hit you over the head with a baseball bat." 

My reaction: At least she was honest enough to wait until he awakened.

Pelosi has what is known in advertising markets as a high "Q" rating and the mere mention of her name in Republican circles triggers a Pavlovian response.

 "If you go to almost any grass-roots event and you mention the speaker's name," said Bill Flores, a Republican who is challenging Rep. Chet Edwards (D-Tex.), "you will get a huge response from the audience." Which is why, by Flores's estimate, he manages to drop Pelosi's name into his speeches about as often as he does President Obama's

I suspect the hidden motive of Republicans is, in male chauvinistic terms, penis envy or subliminal jealousy.

Her success in pushing health, energy, financial and stimulus bills through the House is a crowning achievement, described by political analyst Charles Cook and most congressional observers as "the most powerful speaker we've seen in modern history."

The question becomes if these ads the ilk of a 50-foot Pelosi translate to success on election day, the answer is no.

Before former House Speaker Newt Gingrich self destructed, the Democrats cast him in the same vilified cartoonish freak as Republicans are doing today with Pelosi. Reid, et. al.

Steve Elmendorf, a strategist for the Democrats during Gingrich's rein said "It's very hard in any of these races to make it about the congressional leadership."

For the Post interview, I was amused that Gingrich turned his bag of intellectual expertise to that of neutral political observer.

Gingrich warned that campaigning against the Democrats — even one as unpopular with Republicans as Pelosi — is no substitute for offering voters some idea of how the GOP would govern if Republicans won back the House. "People who think that all the Republicans should do is just yell 'no' are just plain wrong," he said.

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