Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

Pelosi Slips on PBS’s Newshour with Jim Lehrer

Posted by K.E. White on February 15, 2007

Speaker Pelosi

You can listen to the interview here and read the transcript here.

Notice Nancy Pelosi’s long-winded response to Lehrer’s question of gauging the impact of a Congressional resolution critical of the Bush’s administration Iraq policy:

REP. NANCY PELOSI: This nonbinding — the motion of disapproval of the president’s escalation of the war in Iraq is going to set the stage for a whole new debate on Iraq. We’ll take care of this, this week…

JIM LEHRER: A debate among whom?

REP. NANCY PELOSI: In the Congress of the United States, and hopefully the president of the United States will hear what the American people said. They have lost faith in the president in his course of action in Iraq. In the election, they called for a new direction in Iraq.

Democrats are saying to the president: This is not the way to go. It has failed over, and over, and over, and over again. Now, let us make this statement, which is very powerful, which is very powerful, and set the stage for how we take up legislation, whether it’s the funding or the policy legislation that relates to Iraq.

Pelosi failed to succinctly address what this resolution does: Express the frustration the American public feels towards Bush’s Iraq policy.

No where did she quote the percentage of the public against the surge, nor does she explain the immense importance this resolution may have in the future.

It gives Americans accountability, a critical feature of good goverance that has been missing in the Bush administration since the beginning of the Iraq debacle.

And when asked what impact this resolution will have, Pelosi failed to focus on the difference between the war on terror and the war in Iraq.

Had she just talked about the other fronts on the war on terror (homeland security, the fear of Middle Eastern proliferation, and buoying allies like Pakistan), it would have extinguished the perception that Democrats have no plans on Iraq and are unconstructively criticizing the President.

Pelosi missed an opprotunity to show a broad Democratic view on foreign policy, with the primary focus on countering the threat of terrorism.

Instead she babbled and mixed talking points, and then focused on domestic reforms the Congress has passed.

Thus this over 10-minute interview with the face of Democrats in the House must be considered a “C” at best.

While her hands were tied on Iraq–she could not afford to lose support for the Friday vote on the Congress’s Iraq resolution–she missed a great opportunity to show Americans what Democrats stand for (as opposed to against) in foreign policy.

Sen. Jim Webb did a far better job (granted it was well-scripted and rehearsed) in his State of the Union response last month.

Pelosi will no doubt improve and everyone has an off day (she did just shepherd an impressive 100-hours agenda and an Iraq War resolution through the House), but her expansive answers will have to be refined if she hopes to prove to the American public Democrats are the superior party in times of war.

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