Thursday, November 09, 2006

George Gets His Nancy

Every successful President, it seems, needs to have one person in their tight inner circle that protects them from opportunistic or downright awful advice. Lincoln had his "team of rivals," a cabinet filled with highly accomplished men that brought disagreement and discussion directly to Abe's ear. Kennedy had his brother Bobby. FDR had Eleanor. Truman had Dean Acheson. Nixon had, well, no one and that's the point. We all know that Ronald Reagan had his Nancy, a strong-willed protectorate who pushed away sycophants like Don Regan and brought in sensible folks like Howard Baker to keep Ronnie on track.

Up until this point, President George W. Bush has not had his Nancy. Certainly Dick Cheney has not looked out for the President's interest, instead feeding him false evidence and tin-ear rhetoric that has led to an unsustainable war and countless pieces of buckshot in America's face. Rumsfeld just piled on with more of the same. Condi Rice may be a great jogging partner but clearly she has consistently failed to stand up to anyone in the administration on Bush's behalf or even direct Bush towards non-Cheney supplied facts that would influence more balanced decisions. Bob Woodward writes in State of Denial that Laura Bush and Andy Card pushed the President to dump Rummy, to no avail. The librarian makes her case to W. in the softest of tones, and gets drowned out by the Neocons. Even Laura, the one who reads the papers, is unable to protect easily sold W. from policies wrapped in pretty words that contain obvious, explosive results.

Now Nancy Pelosi is poised to become the first female Speaker of the House, and with her power and pragmatism she has the potential to provide Bush with a Nancy of his own. President Bush's decision to fire Rumsfeld may be reactionary, but in these desperate times the ends matter more than the means. With this first step, a foundation for more change has been cast. With Cheney sidelined and Condi empowered by her pal Gates, Pelosi might become a new voice of reason at the table, one Bush must listen to and consider. Pelosi's voice comes from a soul who hasn't sipped any of the Kool Aid, and who has governance of the entire nation at heart, not just the Red half.

The first Nancy, Ms. Reagan, wore elaborate clothes and fretted over the stars. Here's to hoping the new Nancy, in her smart suits and assertive tone, can bring President Bush back to earth where he belongs. The whole nation, Red and Blue, should wish her well.

Update (11/10 @ 444pm PST): I posted this piece on Daily Kos and the majority of responses were viscerally against the metaphor of Pelosi to Bush as Nancy to Ronnie. I'll admit the metaphor is weak and perhaps too cute by half, but some responses took the metaphor one step further and improved it--W. loves to surround himself with women... the question is, will he actually listen to the one who can feed him a dose of reality, Nancy Pelosi? I'm not sure if he's desperate enough when it comes to his legacy to cooperate. What do you think? We'll find out soon enough.

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