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Herland: Nancy Pelosi: Good witch of the House

12/01/2010
By:

Cassandra Cammarata

Staff Writer

Can we please stop vilifying Nancy Pelosi? Throughout her stay as speaker of the house, and now the new minority leader, she has been demoniacally portrayed to seem like an evil character out of “The Wizard of Oz,” intent on destroying the United States’ political structure from the inside out. But many people need to realize that not only is she completely capable of a top, and now minority, position, she also has accomplished many things during her reign–from being a fundraising powerhouse to establishing strong lines on White House responsibility and even women’s rights.

After the slaughter that the Democrats experienced during the elections a few weeks ago, there was a strong whisper about Pelosi’s future role, and whether she would get the hint and step down after her seeming failure as speaker of the house. But Pelosi, to the dismay and the delight of others, decided to stand her ground and become minority leader. This is not the typical route for those defeated so heavily in elections, and some were shouting, “Didn’t you get the point?” such as Rep. Heath Shuler, the leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, who has voiced his opposition to Pelosi’s return to a top position.

Pelosi has a strong backing in her own caucus, despite whatever the polls or the nation’s voice may cry out. Politico.com reported that 32 female House representatives sent a letter in support of Pelosi’s minority leader bid, saying that she has “worked nonstop on behalf of the entire caucus,” and that she will, “continue to ensure that the issues most important to women will remain a focus” of the caucus agenda. These statements are not false; Pelosi has strongly supported women’s rights in the caucus and has co-sponsored many bills with similar intents. In 1999, Pelosi adopted the Women’s Caucus policy agenda, which included support for funding contraception, requiring health insurance plans to cover the drugs. In 2009, she co-sponsored the Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act – or EARLY Act, which was to increase awareness of breast cancer threats, especially in young women and achieve early detection through PSAs and campaigns. In 2002, Pelosi voted no on federal funding for health providers who don’t supply abortion information and who refuse training for abortion procedures. Even on her website she totes the Democratic Women’s Working Group, which focuses on all the major issues with attention to the affect to the women of the country, such as health care, environment, education, employment and ending violence against women, among others. Can I also mention that Pelosi is the first, yes, the first woman speaker of the house, and there were 59 other male speakers of the house prior to her?

And let’s not forget the man that will replace Pelosi as speaker of the house, John Boehner. Boehner has been formally endorsed by the majority Republicans. Boehner is a scarily extreme anti-abortion advocate, and has pushed for support of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, including surges. Although I do admire his non-jet taking lifestyle as opposed to Pelosi’s notoriously expensive traveling, let’s see how long that lasts and whether it was actually not just some media-fused bashing of Pelosi. And let’s discuss the buzz over the “Stupak on Steroids” bill that would ban abortions with the federal health care reform, and also tax heavily those with private insurance that covers abortions – which 87 percent of current private plans do, according to Bitch Magazine. Boehner and at least 180 other representatives have endorsed the bill. And Boehner was endorsed by the Republican National Coalition for Life, to which the group advocated those that they endorse to be heavy-handed in pro-life stances, regardless of instances of rape and incest.

Now who’s the wicked witch of the west?

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