I wasn’t a fan at first, but now Nancy Pelosi is my number one feminist hero.
We wouldn’t have gotten health care without her. According to Harold Meyerson
The president's insistence on a big bill that guaranteed nearly universal coverage -- a position he was encouraged to maintain by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who played Margaret Thatcher to Obama's George H.W. Bush in this tale -- is what motivated the base organizations to go all out for the bill…
In the process, Obama and Pelosi became a legislative force that Democrats have not seen since Lyndon Johnson. Pelosi's contribution, no less than Obama's, is one for the history books. While there have been notable House speakers over the past century -- Pelosi is the first speaker in more than 100 years whose role in the passage of major reform was indispensable.
If I had known about it, I would have been among the Daily Kos bloggers who sent Speaker Pelosi thousands of roses:
"Thanks to the community at Daily Kos, and others who joined in, Speaker Pelosi received thousands of roses this morning for her 70th birthday," Pelosi's staff wrote. "She sent half of the roses to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and is distributing the other half to hill staff to thank them for all their hard work on the health reform legislation."
When Pelosi first became speaker, I recall having some difficulty with her hyper-feminine affect, her delicate lady-like beauty, and expensive wardrobe. In appearance, she reminded me a little of Nancy Reagan.
My first feminist heroes in the world of electoral politics were Shirley Chisholm and Bella Abzug and they became for me the template for feminist politicians.
Initially, it was hard for me to believe that someone like Pelosi could be as strong and tenacious as women like Chisholm and Abzug How wrong I was!
Although a lot of Tea Party types would no doubt disagree, I think It’s good experience to have one’s preconceptions challenged.
I had another such experience in the past week when 59,000 nuns broke with the Catholic bishops and issued a public statement supporting Obama’s health care reform plan. They declared the plan abortion neutral and thus gave much needed cover to anti-abortion Democrats.
As a product (or should I say victim?) of 12 years of Catholic education the 1950’s and early 60’s, I’ve never had anything good to say about nuns. However, our country is changing and that includes the Catholic Church. In my day it would have been unthinkable for nuns to publicly oppose the church hierarchy. (No doubt all the sex scandals in the Catholic Church have weakened the authority of the hierarchy and made such a challenge a good deal easier.)
So in addition to the amazing Speaker Pelosi, I now count 59,000 nuns among my heroes!