Friday, October 7, 2011
Awesome woman of the day is Nancy Pelosi (born, Nancy Patricia D'Alesandro March 26, 1940).
Nancy Pelosi was born in a political family, so going into politics was no great leap for her. Her father and brother were both Mayor of Baltimore.
She grew up in Maryland, attending Catholic schools and then Trinity College. She married in 1963 to Paul Pelosi and moved to California, They had five children whom she raised before running for elected office.
Congresswoman Pelosi is also the grandmother of eight, and when then President Bush called to congratulate her on her Speakership, she was expecting a call from her pregnant daughter and answered the phone, “Is there a baby?” probably confusing the president.
She worked her way up in Democratic politics in California, but didn’t become active in seeking office until her youngest child was a senior in high school.
Ms. Pelosi was the first woman elected as House Minority Whip in 2001, and the first House Leader in 2006. The congresswoman famously said she’d have no problem herding the unruly Democrats by using, “ . . . my mother of five voice.”
In recent memory I can’t recall any speaker who was maligned as Nancy Pelosi was. They criticized everything from her liberal politics to her looks to her use of a government aircraft (mandated by the Secret Service). Not to mention the amount of sexist criticism she received. All of this had some root, I believe of how effective she was.
In my lifetime the only leaders she compares to would be Tip O’Neil, and Sam Rayburn (who was the longest serving speaker in history) The volume of legislation she passed is record setting. The tragedy is how much of it died in the Senate.
Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar at the Brookings Institution, said "she's probably gained the reputation as of one of the strongest and most effective speakers in decades." Congressional scholar Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute commented in May on the work of the Congress Pelosi is helping lead: "This Congress has been as active and productive as any I can remember. The number of major bills passed and enacted into law, the serious, sustained activities in areas of broad, complex, and critical importance, all are truly impressive."
She is still the leader of the House Democrats and an impressive woman. I have disagreed with some of her stands and legislation, but no doubt she is an incredibly awesome woman.