‘We are in the midst of a battle over the ideas that are going to govern our lives.” That’s how Rochelle Schweizer explains the importance of her new book on the women of the hour in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The book is She’s the Boss: The Disturbing Truth about Nancy Pelosi, published by Penguin’s Sentinel imprint, and she talks about it here with National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez.LOPEZ
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: The very last sentence of your book asks, “Is the House that Nancy Pelosi built ready to collapse?” What’s your answer?
ROCHELLE SCHWEIZER: It certainly looks that Nancy Pelosi’s House is pretty shaky and about ready to collapse. But let’s not count her out yet.
: What does that House look like?SCHWEIZER
: Pelosi’s House is showing a lot of wear right about now. She has been pounding the gavel for the last four years, and some of the legislation — the stimulus economic-recovery plan, cap-and-trade, health-care reform — was passed without bipartisan support. Thus, her strategy has made it difficult for some of her vulnerable, moderate colleagues to go home to face their constituents. They are being held responsible for their votes on some of the unpopular legislation she engineered.LOPEZ
: How much of November, nationally, will be about Nancy Pelosi?SCHWEIZER
: I think that the outcome of the election will not only be a referendum on President Obama but also on Nancy Pelosi and the Left’s agenda, which they have successfully pushed, to some extent, onto the electorate. President Obama is certainly an ideological liberal, but Pelosi is the tough, brass-knuckled political boss who has been able to strategize and then execute the agenda. So, yes, this is about Nancy Pelosi.LOPEZ
: Has Nancy Pelosi done what she said she would do as speaker? Cleaning the swamp comes to mind . . . SCHWEIZER
: No, I don’t believe the speaker has followed through with her calls to “drain the GOP swamp.” The swamp is messier than ever. She vowed to clean up the Republicans’ culture of “corruption, cronyism, and incompetence” with her ambitious agenda. This is what the Democrats ran on in 2006 rather than clear policy issues. The result, under Pelosi’s leadership? Spending that is out of control; a massive health-care bill that was passed behind closed doors with provisions (a Pelosi method) that include, among others, expanding Medicaid and fining those who choose not purchase insurance; and the speaker’s blatant sidestepping of Charlie Rangel’s serious ethics charges. In fact, Rangel remained the country’s chief tax writer until he stepped down in March 2010. When Republican majority leader Tom DeLay was admonished by the same committee in 2004, Pelosi said the very next day: “Mr. DeLay has proven himself to be ethically unfit to lead the party.”