Nancy Pelosi is the Democratic politician that conservatives love to hate. She is painted as the San Francisco liberal who stands for everything they despise. And she is also the darling of ‘Democratic liberals’, that group of people who support liberal issues as long as their party supports it. But in reality she is just another political apparatchik in the service of power.
She spoke out against the Patriot Act when Bush was in power. But John Hudson writes that she played the key role defeating the Amash-Conyers amendment that could have curbed the NSA spying program.
With 111 liberal-to-moderate Democrats voting for the amendment alongside 94 Republicans, the vote in no way fell along predictable ideological fault lines. And for a particular breed of Democrat, Pelosi’s overtures proved decisive, multiple sources said.
“Pelosi had a big effect on more middle-of-the road hawkish Democrats who didn’t want to be identified with a bunch of lefties [voting for the amendment],” said the aide. “As for the Alexander briefings: Did they hurt? No, but that was not the central force, at least among House Democrats. Nancy Pelosi’s political power far outshines that of Keith Alexander’s.”
Here are the names of the 17 Democrats who voted against the Patriot Act in 2011 but voted to defeat the Amash amendment, likely because of Pelosi’s lobbying.
Jonathan Turley points to her recent key role in defeating the NSA amendment as evidence of the way she plays both sides..
The respected Foreign Policy magazine details how the recent close vote on the NSA warrantless surveillance program was heading to a victory for privacy when the White House called in Nancy Pelosi. With heavy pressure from Pelosi, the White House was able to get just enough votes to kill privacy. Even with her ignoble role in this vote (and prior work to reduce civil liberties), many democrats are still supporting Pelosi in what is now a robotic form of politics. As their leader takes an axe to privacy, Democrats are again adopting the mantra that the other guys are worse and she is still good on other issues — making privacy just another item to trade off as part of the blue state/red state paradigm maintained by our duopoly of government.
Rep. Justin Amash came close to stopping the NSA with a 205-217 with many Republicans joining Democrats to fight for privacy. The White House put on a full court press to block the effort. However, it came down to Pelosi to deliver the death blow for civil liberties — establishing once again that she is entirely untethered to any principle beyond blind loyalty to Barack Obama and the continuation of her own political ambitions.
There are reports that Pelosi was actually dishonest in her closed door meeting with her caucus, telling them that the vote would bar all NSA data collection and not just one part of it. Of course, it is too much to expect some of our representatives in government to even bother to learn what exactly it is they are voting on and take their leaders assertions at face value but that still does not excuse the leadership for deceiving them.