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Thursday, December 31, 2009

First is worst.... Second is best... but Fourth? Fourth is the one with the brains, beauty and braun


Voted # 4 in the running for Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year,” Nanci Pelosi continues to wow America. (Person of the Year #1 went to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake; #2 to General Stanley McChrystal; and #3 the Chinese worker). Furthermore, Pelosi topped the list of most the admired House Democrats in a recent poll of Washington insiders by National Journal. Indeed, Nancy Pelosi holds the highest post ever attained by any woman in U.S. history. She also stands second in line to the President. Moreover, Time magazine remarks that she has consolidated more power than any other Speaker in modern history: in the first year of Obama’s presidency, she—and, of course, an 81-seat Democratic majority, passed every item on its list—health care, energy, regulatory reform, education, and pay equity. In my opinion, part of her outstanding current leadership is in keeping her background with the Appropriations Committee, [where matters what matters in the end is not so much what you believe as what you can deliver]-- but regardless, whatever her secret is, she's on fire.

Additional key accomplishments signed into law under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi include: the toughest ethics reform legislation in the history of the Congress, an increase in the minimum wage for the first time in 10 years, the largest college aid expansion since the GI bill in more than 60 years, and the largest increase in veterans health care funding in the 77-year history of the Veterans Administration, as well as a new GI education bill for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Nonetheless, in the coming year, a few recent retirement announcements of several Blue Dog Democrats votes raise the question: Can the recent slew of House Democratic retirements be a (short-term) blessing in disguise for Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Obviously, the first big test of this question will be health care reform, which the House will revisit next month. Two of the three retiring Blue Dogs (Tanner and Gordon) opposed the Democratic bill when it came up for a vote last month -- as did Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., who is also leaving the House next year.

For those who are interested, find Nancy Pelosi on twitter: twitter.com/nancypelosi

You can also access the speakers blog at: http://www.speaker.gov/blog/

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