Nancy Pelosi is the most underrated public figure in the United States. She is the first female Speaker of the House, one of the most powerful people in Congress (and America) and has achieved it all largely outside of the greater public eye.
[You might say, Courtney, that’s ridiculous, outside of the public eye. She’s Speaker of the House! To which I respond, most people in America might sort of know that, but have no idea what that means.]
While first Hillary Clinton and then Sarah Palin were cavorting around the country discussing their womanly, pit bull, buck the good ole boy personalities, elect me because I represent YOU! Nancy Pelosi has been the most unassuming gleaner of power ever.
Almost under the radar Nancy Pelosi became Minority Whip and Minority Leader in 2001/2002 — then when Dems won big majorities in 2006, it was with great surprise that many folks realized she would become the new Speaker. Not to mention that Pelosi is the exact opposite of the high-powered female figure we’ve come to know since the era of Feminist Liberation. She’s a grandmother for goodness sake.
And she is tough as nails. Politico has an article out today discussing the steely power Pelosi holds over the House and Washington. Money anecdote:
Unlike the team of DeLay and former Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Pelosi doesn’t openly threaten members or plot to run a primary challenger against them if they don’t toe the line, but she will play hardball if she has to. While still minority leader, she led the charge in June 2006 to kick indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) off the Ways and Means Committee. When Congressional Black Caucus members complained that they didn’t elect “Pelosi as their queen,” she had a quick response: “I am not an emperor or a queen. But neither am I a fool.”
When I am looking for strong female role models for my children one day, I hope that I can point to Pelosi — and the many women who found inspiration in her leadership, and chose to get involved in politics and public service as a result.