KITTY: Pelosi’s mom wanted a nun. Nancy wanted to be a priest. Look what happenned
Profiling Pelosi the Serial Speaker
by Choupette Bateaumouchoir ©
It’s important not to demonize Nancy Pelosi because her behavior can be understood and countered. In spite of Donald Trump’s characterization of her as “crazy,” his sobriquet is too dismissive of a woman who has hung onto increasing power for more than forty years and has wielded it like a truncheon, despite her sometimes theatrical antics, as the third in line to the presidential succession.
She is not crazy. Or one might say, if she is crazy, it is like a fox. She is, rather, ruthless, scheming, dissembling, perfidious, combative, domineering, determined, overbearing, dominating and hard. And that’s just for starters. Pray that Biden stays healthy because while Harris would not know how to govern, Pelosi would — in a most destructive way: making alliances, breaking all the rules, and having an end game without a real platform.
She is the child of both her parents. Most obviously, she is the daughter of Tommy D’Alesandro Jr, the son of central Italian immigrants, who parlayed a charming personality, a way with people, and a keen political aptitude into a long career as a Congressman and Mayor of Baltimore.
He was an old style pol who did favors for all, poor or rich, and also called favors in; was reputed to be close to more than one Mafia figure, which though never conclusively proved, was likely, and certainly received payola from various entities and palled around with fiscal criminals.
That was the way that most politics was done in those days, mutual backscratching and often illegal behavior. Nancy learned from babyhood and literally at her father’s knee the ins and outs of patronage and connection building. Quid pro quo was the byword and keeping the various ethnic groups of Baltimore in their neighborhoods but satisfied with means to better themselves was the operating principle.
Deals were made for big projects but in general with some notable exceptions the little guys were also taken care of. It has been described as similar to medieval patronage by the nobility, except that in the United States, an Italian American of modest means could create his own nobility out of personality. The American Dream.
Her mother’s influence has its place as well. Both parents were staunch Catholics, her mother, Annunciata, also called Nancy, was perhaps stauncher—she wanted her daughter to become a nun. Nancy said tellingly that, looking at things, she preferred being a priest. Nonetheless, after getting a college degree in Political Science, she married Joe Pelosi, moved to San Francisco, and had five children in six years.
At that point, she stopped having children. She did not work a paying job, but rather was active in politics, took a volunteer position with a library and did fundraising. She remained in position a conventional housewife and Catholic mother until her children were grown and she was in her late forties.
Then she “inherited” a Congressional seat: ‘Phillip Burton was the Congressman for the district that included most of the city of San Francisco. He died in 1983. His wife Sala succeeded him in Congress. Sala became ill with cancer in 1986 and designated Nancy Pelosi to succeed her. Sala died in office in 1987 and Nancy Pelosi won the special election to become a member of Congress. She represents the safest district in Congress. Only 13 percent of the registered voters are Republican.
And so it began. Nancy was as ensconced in her San Francisco district as her father had been in his Baltimore one. However, no matter what kinds of tactics and strategies she learned at his knee, there is a telling and defining difference between Nancy and her father.
Dan Gifford writes, ‘“Big Tommy” was a man with a history of putting community safety and national defense first even at the risk of his own political career, a principle daughter Nancy does not appear to share.
To illustrate, in one instance Tommy D’Alesandro, who had grown to know local Jews intimately as a teenager, risked his political career to stick up for Jews in peril during World War II. He had a capacity to see the big picture, and see it apparently fairly clearly, as well as his place within it and his own operational boundaries.
Rejecting Fascism, he was comfortable with Communism in certain ways. He appears, however, to have been foremost a supremely practical and pragmatic man. Not so Nancy. Perhaps it is because she was brought up in an atmosphere of already developed political action, and connections.
She never had to build a constituency from scratch as her father did. Not simply a question of how she was raised but also how she thought—she has no defining worldview in the sense of how actions fit together to form a whole and what their consequences are, except in the sense of exercise of power. What she champions is not coherent or even practical.
Donald Trump for example, by trade a builder, approached his development of a platform — an agenda — as a builder would: how it all fit together, what the consequences were, not simply the end result but did the end result work in practice, could it be sustained, and similar practical questions.
If something did not work, it would have to be changed or jettisoned. In contrast, Nancy Pelosi has embraced many Democratic laws and policies with the attitude of a medieval warlord laying siege to a town: gather your army, promise spoils to the factions, ram through the assault and divide the loot. [She] famously said of Obamacare, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”
Her father demonstrated a compassion and feeling that she appears to lack. Instead, for her it is all the bureaucratic and governmental equivalent of swordplay and tactic. To be a true Mafia Don, you have to have a vision and a perception of the future. Instead, she is more like an underling capo — very powerful and controlling on her turf but without the vision.
She rose from being a Congresswoman with key appointments (Appropriations and Intelligence Committees) to eventually become House Minority Whip in 2001, Democratic Leader of the House of Representatives in 2002, and Speaker of the House from 2006-2011 with a hiatus when the Republicans were in control, but then again Speaker in 2018 until the present.
She supported or fought to enact such laws/actions/programs as the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (LGBT in the military), PRISM (NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens), support of illegal aliens, revised marijuana laws, government stimulus actions, increased corporate taxes, giant pork-filled legislation, basing trade with China on its human rights performance, no balanced budget, gun control, and laws promoting federal funding for abortions, to name some. If this seems like a hodgepodge, it is.
Her Congressional behavior in the past few years has become markedly more pettily controlling. Notable for public consumption were her playing invitational games with President Trump’s State of the Union Address, tearing up a copy of his SOTU speech in public, playing procedural games with the Senate regarding the Trump impeachment hearings, kneeling on the House floor with other members of Congress wearing kinte cloths, putting a fence around the Capitol, trying to get the nuclear codes, attempting to enlarge and make national the responsibilities of the Capitol police, ordering around and fining Congress members over Covid masks, and walking all over Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s turf — appointing Republican members of her January 6th Committee.
It seems that while Trump’s election spurred a free hand for her to attempt to run roughshod over his administration and destroy it, she has also continued what can only be described as her bizarre and callous actions into the Biden administration. She has gone from arguing upfront with powerful black legislators 30 years ago to pacifying publicly extremist black legislators in current times.
Her extravagant and wasteful congressional jaunts and use of military planes for unapproved visits has a long history. Her activities to support her husband’s real estate business and other deals in San Francisco and California (such as the Bullet train) are well known. She maneuvers the purse strings of Congress to distribute largesse that puts the country in the red. The ensuing fiscal problems are patently not her concern.
She is neither a practical nor a caring person. Her explanations are sound bites devoid of truth. She recently told a reporter that supporting abortion was a matter of women’s health. No matter what one’s stance, health is not in any way the issue of today on abortion. She brings up her children when speaking but ignored the children stuck in the Afghanistan war zone until she was forced to say a few words in public. She pulls out her expensive ice cream from her overpriced refrigerator for display in the midst of a financial crisis. In all of this she is miles away in attitude from her father, corrupt though he may have been.
How will Nancy fall? How can she fall? Unlikely she can be dislodged from her sinecure congressional seat but she can be surrounded and dampened by powerful opponents, if those people will step up in the Republican party. Her edge in California can be blunted with the election of more Republican representatives, but they must be genuine performers, not simply people looking for a political career and political spoils.
Her lieutenants can be chipped away at, but one has to be prepared for a very long fight, and a battle of attrition. Then, working with her in the short term will be an option, but a Republican Congress needs to work with her from a position of strength. Difficult but not impossible.
The key is, she is a political fighter of a very high order but that is all she is. She has no all encompassing vision for the United States, or for its citizens, that addresses the many practical reforms, rebuilding and restructuring that we have to make to bring our country back to full power. She has embraced a piecemeal vision of mismatched and unclear priorities and overfunded programs that don’t work and some that are deleterious. So her fighting is ultimately for an illusion that must be exposed and countered with workable and productive solutions.