Two years into the Trump administration, the Right and Left can scarcely make eye-contact, much less fashion legislation in the country’s best interest. And while the economy is booming, debate over Trump’s effectiveness is ongoing. There should be no debate, however, over the new lexicon that arrived with him.
If your physician had told you in 2015 that the “collusion” on your “dossier” had better be lopped off and quick, otherwise “unprecedented” maladies would befall your “FISA warrant,” you wouldn’t have looked to CNN for a second opinion, or elucidation; these words rarely appeared, if ever, in American media during the Obama years (also, you wouldn’t have had the time, so lost you would have been in the labyrinthian voicemail system of your insurance carrier as you rehearsed your pitch: “Look, if you’ll cover this, I’ll forego the pap smear and the loony-test this quarter.”)
“Fake news” is new, while “deep state” less so, but both are just pithier iterations of old concepts. But, if you work in cable news, it’s now mandatory that you dispense with the title, “President,” and lead instead with what the entire media seem to think is a more appropriate appellation for Donald J. Trump: “Racist-bigot-misogynist-homophobe-xenophobe.”
My favorite, though, is another term used with daily frequency, increasing heat and always to describe President Trump’s latest words or action: “He’s undermining our institutions,” they whine hoarsely. It’s pretty rich criticism, coming as it invariably does from those who are intent on destroying this democratically-elected president and the executive branch with him. If that’s not “undermining an institution,” what would be?
It has certainly caused me to think about our “American institutions.” What they are and what they mean to us.
Merriam-Webster defines “institution” as “an established law, practice, or custom,” which means Washington is the richest of target-rich environments. If it’s been around a reasonably long time, here it qualifies as an “institution.” It’s a definition that encompasses everything from the U.S. Constitution and the White House complex — really, all federal buildings of a certain vintage — to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Arlington National Cemetery and, of course, the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
Nancy Pelosi is the most formidable of institutions. She wields tremendous power and has done so for decades. Her very longevity, coupled with a mainstream media that shares her loathing of Trump — while also comfortably ensconced within her ideological camp — has largely inoculated her from any real scrutiny. That must change.
Consider what we know about Nancy Pelosi. As the speaker of the House, she’s second in line for presidential succession, just behind Mike Pence. So, if the president and the vice president were both permanently incapacitated by, say, bad oysters at a Congressional lunch, Nancy Pelosi would assume the presidency. And she’d do so, having never earned a vote outside the city limits of San Francisco, California.
We know Nancy Pelosi is in her second term as the first female speaker of the House and is the “highest ranking woman, ever, in the United States government.” We know, too, that it’s Nancy’s 17th term as the Democratic congresswoman from San Francisco and that she’s been a fixture in Washington for more than 32 years.
What else do we know about Speaker Pelosi?
Using the only metrics that matter to the party she leads, Nancy Pelosi is an old (79), white (from birth), married (children and grandchildren) woman (again, from birth), who sometimes professes her Christian faith (even while trying to enact taxpayer-funding for abortion).
We know she is the most prolific fundraiser in Washington, each year bringing in oodles of money for her own reelection, for the Democratic Party, for individual candidates and for the abortion industry.
And, we know Nancy Pelosi is famous for the disdain with which she views the democratic process (see Obamacare; the Stimulus; Election 2016; the Russia investigation; the Mueller Report; “Barr Lied”; unspecified “cover-up”; etc.), but especially those Americans who are serious about preserving their freedom from HER.
Though many recall Nancy’s famous declaration — amid a passionate debate regarding nationalizing one-fifth of the U.S. economy — that we’d “have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it,” few recall the second half of that sentence: “away from the fog of the controversy.”
The “fog of the controversy” is what Nancy Pelosi thinks of you, me and any other American who would resist the policy prescriptions she tries to inflict upon us. Want to participate in your democracy by speaking directly with the elected officials to whom you gave your vote and with it, the license to act on your behalf? Hoping to register your concern, offer your opinion, debate the specifics of a proposed law? No chance. Nancy would really prefer you not emit any more “fog of the controversy.” In short, sit down and be quiet.
So, who, exactly, is this woman who wields so much power, she can:
Single-handedly squelch debate on even the most consequential legislation?
Alone, determine which bills come up for a vote … and which never will?
Unreservedly plunge the U.S. Congress into prolonged — and yet, exceedingly expensive — paralysis, solely to crush her political opposition and secure power for her party?
In a nation of almost 330 million, Nancy Pelosi is accountable to exactly 275,000 residents of San Francisco — the 86 percent of her district who voted for her. Who are they and what are their priorities? Do they share your values, fears and aspirations?
Who pours their gold in to Pelosi’s funnel and to what end?
How did Nancy Pelosi become one of the richest members of Congress — and the country — with a net worth variously reported between $100-240 million? Who is her mysterious husband, Paul, and what are the details of his “investment and real estate” business? How many government contracts has he had? Are they still playing the stock market with the inside information to which Nancy is always privy? What might their tax returns reveal? And where, exactly, does Nancy keep her voluminous medical records?
These are just a few of the questions being asked.
Nancy Pelosi may be a Washington institution, but she’s currently a woefully ill-defined one.
Buckley Carlson, a political writer, has been knee-deep in the Washington swamp for 23 years. He respects tradition, abides by certain customs … and thoroughly despises corrupt “institutions.” He may be reached at the Committee to Reexamine & Investigate Pelosi (CRIPelosi.com) by emailing Buckley@CRIPelosi.com.