Nancy Pelosi: Misandry A-Go-Go
By: Carey Roberts
As House Republicans stayed behind in Washington DC to debate solutions to the nation’s energy crisis, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was out on the TV circuit last month, talking up her recent book, Know Your Power: A Message to Americaâ€™s Daughters.
As a mother of five and current Speaker of House, Nancy Pelosi has good reason to be a proud. But this preachy tome is unlikely to bring many voters into the Democratic fold this coming November.
Know Your Power consists of an odd brew of perky girl-talk, partisan posturing, and womenâ€™s-libber agitations. The bookâ€™s 174 pages projects all the intellectual firepower of a Golden Girls re-run. Pelosiâ€™s rather pedestrian take-home message can be summed up in a single sentence: â€œI consider my involvement in politics as an extension of my role as a mom.â€
The book contains some rather obvious omissions and contradictions. For example, Pelosi dwells on her Catholic faith, but never attempts to reconcile that with her principled support for abortion on demand. In fact, the A-word never appears in the book.
And she proclaims â€œmy flagship issue has been energy security,â€ while adamantly refusing to allow a vote on the House floor for a bill that would permit more drilling.
In places the book revels in bipartisan happy-talk (â€œI came to Congress to build bridges, not burn themâ€). Then she shows her other side. Describing a meeting she had with President Bush to discuss the Katrina flooding, she hisses, â€œThis President is in denial. He is therefore dangerous.â€
If youâ€™re ready for a good belly laugh, consider this straight-faced claim on page 85: â€œSan Franciscans lead the way in caring about our familiesâ€¦Much of this is thanks to the leadership of Mayor Gavin Newsom.â€ Mr. Newsom, we should note, has been caught up in recurring scandals, including his 2007 admission of a romantic liaison with the wife of his campaign manager.
The bookâ€™s title betrays Pelosiâ€™s passion for power. Indeed, Pelosi often comes across like a 1960s student radical: â€œIt is time for a disruption,â€ she proclaims about American health care.
At times she lapses into a schoolgirl tantrum. Despondent that 50% of American lawmakers arenâ€™t female, she shreaks, â€œWe want more â€“ in the United States and the world!â€
Part of Mrs. Pelosiâ€™s message is that even the most powerful female politician in the land is allowed to play the victim. At one point she recalls the weekly dinners with other members of Congress with this plaintive comment: â€œThe men never turned and asked, â€˜What do you think?â€™ Never.â€
So there you have it — the donâ€™t-speak-unless-you-are-called-upon rule even applies to the Speaker of the House!
Most disturbing is Pelosiâ€™s disparaging remarks about members of the opposite sex. Yes, she does acknowledge the support of her father and husband. But beyond her family and close political allies, and her girl-power manifesto lapses into misandry and contempt.
She begins with this hubris-filled pronouncement: â€œBy electing a woman Speaker, my colleagues turned the old system upside down.â€
Next the Speaker resorts to condescension. â€œI didnâ€™t come to Congress to change the attitudes of men,â€ she self-righteously declares on page 139.
Then San Fran Nan recounts a discussion with several male congressmen about childbirth, concluding the men â€œdidnâ€™t have a clue.â€
Now just imagine former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, previously a high school athletic coach, having a sporting conversation with female lawmakers. Letâ€™s say the ladies didnâ€™t know the difference between a nickel defense, pulling guard, and a quarterback sneak. So I guess Hastert would have been justified in calling these women â€œcluelessâ€?
Having established the moral supremacy of her gender, Pelosi feels justified in issuing this chauvinistic rant: â€œI couldnâ€™t help think about how women were especially blessed with heightened intuition to decide or to advise.â€
Thatâ€™s one heck of a statement, Nancy. Maybe Hillary should have read your book before her ill-fated campaign went bust.
Editor Kathyrn Jean Lopez sizes up Know Your Power this way: â€œStuck on the history sheâ€™s made, Nancy Pelosi, instead of being the trailblazer of her imagination, actually has shown herself to be an uninspiring and confused leader.â€
Nancy Pelosiâ€™s self-absorbed message really boils down to this: Itâ€™s perfectly fine to gloss over the contradictions, stereotype men as doofuses, and relentlessly play the victim.
Letâ€™s say it just comes with the territory.
Carey Roberts is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. (www.thenma.org).