The Times Herald (Norristown, PA)

Republican­s should learn from Pelosi

“We have fired Nancy Pelosi,” tweeted House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California a day after his party narrowly won back control of the House.


Fired? Not quite. She plans to stick around and Congress could use her advice.

She will have to step down as speaker of the House. But she announced she will continue in her congressio­nal seat. At age 83, she is not eager to ease into retirement. As a backbenche­r, she still will be able to witness her GOP opposition up close as they take on the daunting task of actual governing.

Her departure from leadership marks a watershed moment in Washington politics. She made history in 2007 as the first woman to assume the speakershi­p. Then, after eight years in the minority, she won the speaker’s seat again in

2019, the only speaker to do so.

Love her or hate her — and many in today’s polarized political arena find it easy to do both — she got things done.

Her string of achievemen­ts is one of the most impressive of the past half-century.

Among her history-making accomplish­ments, there was the hard-won passage of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, more widely known as “Obamacare.” She pushed the Dodd-Frank financial reform act after the 20072008 financial crisis.

She helped pass the Bipartisan Infrastruc­ture Law to rebuild roads, bridges, railways, ports and airports, and carry out other major projects such as improving access to highspeed internet.

In other historic moves, she presided over the two impeachmen­ts of former President Donald Trump, and helped spur a full investigat­ion of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Everyone soon learned that Pelosi was not one to be trifled with. She grew up in the trenches of big-city, precinctle­vel politics, witnessing firsthand the neighborho­od-based relationsh­ips built on respect for people and their families in return for their votes.

When former Obama adviser and chief strategist David Axelrod asked Pelosi what she learned from growing up in a political family, her response came quickly: “I learned how to count. And I learned that ‘I hear you’ is not a yes. ‘I got it’ is not a yes. Only ‘yes’ is ‘yes.’ “Such was her road map to success.

Molly Ball quotes her as telling Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, later Chicago mayor, that she thought wooing Republican votes as Obama wished wasn’t worth the effort. “Does the president not understand the way this game works? He wants to get it done and be beloved, and you can’t have both. Which does he want?”

With that, she showed herself to be a political realist: Get as much done as you have the votes to achieve — and don’t overreach. That was a view that brought a lot of complaints from her party’s progressiv­e wing and made her an all-purpose bogeyman for rivals on the political right.

Pelosi’s blunt realism didn’t charm the idealists right away, but in building her coalitions, she was patient. Her rivals can learn valuable lessons from her.

Republican­s have a lot of work waiting for them. After campaignin­g on the issues of crime, inflation and border security, Republican­s have not offered many specifics as to what remedies they have in mind. But high on their to-do list are investigat­ions, particular­ly of their pet concerns.

These include alleged lapses at the border, suspicious Internal Revenue Service nosiness and Hunter Biden’s business dealings, none of which is known to be connected to President Joe Biden or Congress — or, for that matter, the issues on which they campaigned.

And, just as Pelosi had her party’s left-wing to placate or criticize, McCarthy, if elected speaker, will have to deal with people on his party’s right wing who seem no less interested in governing than grandstand­ing.

McCarthy is new to that level of leadership and factional bridge-building. For the good of the country, we wish him luck. The speaker’s job looks a lot more inviting from the outside than the inside. Nancy Pelosi knows.

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