The Democratic Speaker of the House and a co-author hired to try to add flavor to bland Beltway establishment oatmeal have penned a self-help book for "America's daughters" to help them "Know Your Power." It's a dreadfully pedestrian text ("As long as we recognize the power within us, we will continue to have choices, and we will continue to lead."), surpassed in its dreadfulness only by the timing of its publication.
With congressional approval ratings at an all-time low and the Democratic Congress under fire for taking a five-week vacation instead of working on energy policy, perhaps this wasn't the best time to send Nancy Pelosi jetting from coast to coast to tell our daughters how to save the planet, manage our households and run our government.
Sorry, Nan. There aren't enough carbon offsets to compensate for this tree-wasting dud and its accompanying gas-guzzling, hot air-emitting publicity tour.
Intended to inspire young women to public service, Pelosi's preachy tome ("Courage springs from the heart.") stands in stark contrast to her refusal to stay and work this summer in Washington on a host of energy bills and drilling proposals. "Know Your Power" merely underscores the true message of Pelosi's actions (or rather, inaction): "Do as I say, not as I do."
While Madame Speaker advises America's daughters to "never draw a line in the sand," she refuses to return to Washington and allow up-or-down votes on Republican energy proposals.
While Madame Speaker advises America's daughters "to defend your position with facts," she has demonstrated blinking ignorance about the price of gas in her own district and the laws of supply and demand.
While Madame Speaker advises America's daughters to "treat one another in a civil way," she has resorted to business-as-usual demagoguery against her ideological opponents. Over the weekend, Pelosi denounced the conservative revolt on the House floor last week an objection to the Democrats' five-week recess as "a war dance of the handmaidens of the oil companies."
While Madame Speaker advises America's daughters that "you have to know what you're talking about, you can't grandstand," she gave a pitiful performance on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" when pressed to explain her stonewalling of up-or-down votes on energy bills.
In classic grandstanding style, Pelosi mischaracterized GOP proposals as drilling-only, blustered about drilling not having an immediate effect on lowering gas prices, criticized Republicans for not divining the right parliamentary moves to get their legislative plans through, and then sniffed imperiously that "they'll have to use their imagination as to how they can get a vote."
Spoken like a true leader filled with "courage," fueled by "passion" for public service and driven by her caring for struggling families feeling the impact of high-energy costs and limited access to American oil.
Assailing Republican bills as "diversionary," Pelosi spent 10 painful minutes attempting to divert a simple question:
Pelosi: This is a diversionary tactic from failed energy policies.
Stephanopoulos: But if you feel you have the better arguments, why not give a straight up or down vote for drilling?
Pelosi: Because the misrepresentation is being made that this is going to reduce the price at the pump. This is, again, a decoy. It's not a solution.
Stephanopoulos: Well, if you're right, why not let it be debated out and have the vote?
Pelosi: We have a debate every single day on this subject.
Except on the House floor, where Pelosi forbade debate on GOP amendments and where the lights and cameras have been darkened to prevent debate.
Rather than exercise her power responsibly by calling lawmakers back to the Capitol to address Americans' concerns about gas prices and energy independence, Pelosi has dismissed oil and gas drilling as a "hoax" even as she reportedly encourages vulnerable Democrats to embrace drilling to bolster their electoral prospects. In 2006, she blamed a Republican congress for high gas prices. In power for 19 months, Madame Speaker now blames the Republican minority for gas prices that have nearly doubled.
Nancy Pelosi's real lesson for America's daughters: Women in power are just as capable of mastering Washington double talk, blame avoidance and partisan hackery as are men.