Pelosi, the new direction of America
09 November, 2006
By Riaz Missen
The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, the most open and the most ethical Congress in history, said Nancy Pelosi who has recently presided over the Democrat's victory in the Congress. She has spent 19 years in the House. Her surge to fame has come from the fact that she is the first women in American history to lead the Congress.
Pelosi has kept the Democrats in the House together over contentious issues like Iraq and tax cuts in educations and healthcare for last four years. She, an excellent campaigner and fundraiser, has made victory possible for her party and elevated herself to the status of 'Madam Speaker'.
The midterms were projected as historic event by the media — the Americans were meant to give their verdict on the "We will stay course in Iraq" policy of the Republicans. The Democrats had said they wanted to change this course and they made the most crucial stride to this end in this election.
The US president had warned the Americans before polls that the Republican defeat will bring humiliation for the US in Iraq. He had urged them to keep America on course in the Middle East through staying with the Republicans.
As the power balance tilted in the House of Representatives in the favour of the Democrats, the officials of State Department assured key US allies that Republican fall will not affect US engagements abroad.
Richard Boucher, the US Assistant Secretary for South Asia and Central Asia, said in Islamabad that the result of midterm elections would not affect his country's relations with Pakistan. Same assurance came from Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador in Baghdad. "President is the Military Commander -in- Chief as well," he said.
"Sea to shining sea, Americans voted for new direction," Pelosi said in Washington. She pledged partnerships with the Republicans in Congress, and the president. Already dominating powerful committees, the new balance of power will introduce checks and balances in the working of the House that the Democrats say was absent since last four years.
Pelosi has pledged to work with the president on a new plan in Iraq and has put his impeachment off the table, for she takes such an exercise as a waste of time. She will be, rather, concentrating on the issues that have surfaced on the top of the Democrat's priority list.
Though she says her strategy in the House will be that of partnership not partisanship, a lot depends on her party representatives to develop a consensus on the issues they have been divided on so far.
Pelosi, termed by US media as limousine liberal, had been demanding commitment from her party members on providing relief to middle class Americans in education and healthcare. The higher minimum wages is also on her domestic agenda that she is expected to push in the House.
Midterms have really proved to be referendum for President Bush who was asking US public to help him take War on Terror to its logical end: complete victory. Bush already a being a lame duck president, there are dismal chances the Republicans will win 2008 presidential polls.
Which side America will go when the Democrats are in the driving seat, a lot depends on Pelosi, the person who has led her party to stunning victory in midterms. Her political skills are time tested; her commitment with change in the course of America's history is still to be translated into concrete actions.
Pelosi's elevation to the status of the 'Madam Speaker' is not without challenges. The Democrat's return has been coincided with the heavy US engagement in Iraq where violence has not subsided even years after the overthrow of Saddam regime.
She is not meant to introduce deep divisions in the House while changing the course of her country in Iraq. She is known as power broker. She has meant consensus in the past. Her new responsibility demands her to continue with this image.
America is not such a country that will take U-turn on its foreign policy front so easily; when stakes are too high compromises are the only answers — she is already talking about compromises! The possible course lies in staying in Iraq while bringing civility in discourse on foreign policy
Dominating the House has made the Democrat's presence felt every where. Compromise on Iraq will be definitely responded by Republicans with cooperation on their rival's domestic agenda. The two parties will develop a real partnership on this front. After all, 12 year rule of the big business has ended and, 'middle class has won in the middle of America'.