Friday, December 01, 2006

Nancy Pelosi's Priorities are Mixed Up. Call her.

This Nation piece by William Greider is further evidence that the post-election break is over for progressives.

I'm more convinced than ever that the major religion of America is not Christianity. It's Capitalism - just as much an unfounded matter of blind faith as any other religion, and with adherents just as convinced of its utter infallibility. Perhaps the appeal of Islam - a religion growing in these secular times - is that it's the only religion with any followers, though they are a tiny, violent fraction of a largely peaceful spiritual community, capable of even getting the attention of the Capitalist high priests and priestesses.

If you'd like to use a less violent means of getting some attention for those who believe there's more to life than profit share, Nancy Pelosi's phone number is (415) 556-4862 in San Francisco and (202) 225-4965 in Washington D.C. Please call and giver her an earful. Repeatedly. -KW

Same Old Same Old
by William Greider

House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi ought to find a quiet place where she can sit down and recount the election. She was not chosen by her friends in Silicon Valley or by the friendly investment bankers on both coasts. They no doubt contributed generously to the party's candidates. But her House majority was made possible by millions of fed-up Americans ready to gamble that Democrats might try something new--on Iraq, on the soggy economy for working people and other grievances.

So why does Pelosi begin the education of her freshman members with a seminar on Rubinomics? Robert Rubin, the Citigroup executive and former Treasury secretary, will appear solo next week before the party caucus to explain the economy. Pelosi has scheduled another caucus briefing on Iraq, but that includes five expert voices of varying viewpoints. Rubin gets the stage to himself.

When labor officials heard about this, they asked to be included since they have very different ideas about what Democrats need to do in behalf of struggling workers and middle-class families. Pelosi decided against it. This session, her spokesman explains, is only about "fiscal responsibility," not globalization and trade, not the deterioration of wages and disappearing jobs. Yet those subjects are sure to come up for discussion. Rubin gets to preach his "free trade" dogma with no one present to rebut his facts and theories.

A fundamental debate is growing within the party around these economic issues and Pelosi knows this. It is seriously unwise for this new Speaker to leave an impression she has already chosen sides. The interpretation by Washington insiders will be: Pelosi is "safe;" she is not going to threaten Rubin's Wall Street orthodoxy. Far-flung voters will begin to conclude Democrats are the same-old, same-old money party. This is the sort of party "unity" that can earn Pelosi a very short honeymoon.


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