Quiet Please, There’s A Lady Onstage

weboy here – back from a long nap… 🙂

Well, Red is absolutely correct – I spent a couple of days resting and tooling around in the Company Car. Also, I discovered that maintaining two blogs is indeed a challenge to the writing mind.

Still, I can’t let the day pass without noting the historic event that Red would have as well – the acension of Nancy Pelosi to the third-highest office in the land. Since theNancy takes oath election, there’s been a lot of talk about what Pelosi could and should accomplish, but now, finally, all the speculation will meet up with reality. The “first hundred hours” with the promise of ethics reforms, minimum wage increases, and budgeting improvements should be pretty exciting (well, if legislative votes excite you, anyway). But seriously, they will signal a welcome change.

Or at least sort of. One disconcerting aspect of the pace of things in these first hundred hours is that debate on these bills will be stifled and no amendments will be allowed to be put forth. Pelosi and her leaders make the sensible case that these proposals have been on the legislative docket for years, and many are common sense things where there is little actual disagreement. Debate and amendments, they suggest, will bog down the process, so better to keep things quick and speedy (especially when all will pass with the new Democratic majority in place). Still, this is a holdover tactic from the DeLay years, and it was decried by Democrats then and Republicans are crying foul now (and of course, The Wall Street Journal editorial page has weighed in as well).

I think it would have been nice to do the cosmetically correct thing and at least allow some debate and a few token amendments to make the point; it’s not going to help, long term, to leave the impression that Democrats are as keen on stifling dissent as Republicans were for the last 6 years. But I expect, as the 100 hours end, that normal, traditional processes will be put in place, and a more bipartisan approach to legislating will kick in. Hopefully.

Finally, keep an eye on the other distraction that’s bubbling under the surface but could become a real topic of discussion – Pelosi’s personal wealth and her tastes in high end wardrobe. The utterly useless “Political Fashion Critic” at the Washington Post, Robin Givhan, has already cast her approving eye on Pelosi’s suits (Givhan, last year’s Pulitzer Prize winner in Criticism, is dreadful, and highly partisan, a dangerous mix), leading conservative pundits to make snide passing comments as they dismiss Pelosi’s every move. Given the extra scrutiny women face in the public eye, I can’t blame Pelosi for investing in some good Armani. But when you’re the party of the underclass, such choices can have a double-edged meaning. Just something to keep in mind.


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