Madam Speaker of the House

author
Dr. Louis Perron
blog post louis

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives has accepted a 3.5 trillion USD budget plan to advance Joe Biden’s agenda of building back. It was a narrow 120-112 vote and yet another stunning victory for Speaker Nancy Pelosi. There is a reason why she is named an iron fist in a Gucci glove, a master in keeping her diverse and razor-thin majority together.

I just finished reading “Madam Speaker”, a biography about Pelosi written by Susan Page. It’s an extremely fascinating read. Nancy d’Allessandro grew up as the only daughter together with five brothers. So, she learned to speak up around men, which would later help her when challenging the Democratic leadership and presidents Clinton, Bush and, Trump. Her father was the Mayor of Baltimore and the family home was sort of a campaign headquarters. The family kept a “favor file”, keeping track of each and every constituent they have helped. In other words, the future most powerful woman in U.S. politics grew up with political organizing.

After getting married, Pelosi gave birth to five children herself during the time span of six years. At the age of 47, she ran for public office for the first time, after her youngest daughter told her “to get a life.” Pelosi arrived in Washington D.C. during the 1980is and rose to the Democratic leadership during a time when women in politics really did have to be better than men in order to get ahead.

When she became speaker for the first time, she was instrumental in passing the Affordable Health Care Act, which gave health insurance to millions of Amercians. She paid a heavy prize for it: Republican candidates for the House across the country spent 65 million USD attacking her. It would buy them 161’203 attack ads against Pelosi. It makes her comeback as a speaker even more impressive.

From the very beginning of her career until now, she is a master fundraiser. For her first campaign, she raised twice as much money as all her opponents combined. Over the years, she has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Democratic candidates and more than any other member of Congress in history.

She is also known to be a master in counting votes. Unlike other Speakers, she does not bring up bills for a vote on the House floor unless she is sure to have the votes (and usually has some spare votes in her pocket). I suggest you keep that in mind next time there is talk about a rebellion within her caucus. If she brings it up for a vote, she is sure to have the votes.

Too bad the Swiss media almost entirely ignores this truly outstanding and most powerful woman of U.S. politics.

Next, I will be reading “On the House” by John Boehner. I will keep you posted on that one.

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