As President Bush gave his seventh State of the Union address last Tuesday, Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi applauded every issue that could be viewed as bipartisan by her liberal base: balancing the budget, eliminating earmarks, energy independence, stopping terrorists and even, supporting the troops.
But any effort to appear bipartisan flew out the window when the topic changed to war.
Pelosi made it a point not to stand and applaud when the President pressed Congress to “turn events toward victory” and insisted the U.S. must “succeed in Iraq,” Democrats’ discomfort with the concept of victory was plainly displayed.
Most of her Democratic colleagues followed suit.
Were Pelosi’s knees buckling? Was she tuckered out after a long day? Not likely. The woman who says she rarely sleeps and confesses to chowing chocolate for a steady buzz brags of her endless energy. As Milbank said in the Washington Post the day after the SOTU, “The speaker, more agile than the vice president, was usually the first to her feet….” But, her every move that night was calculated and deliberate. All eyes were on her, and Pelosi knew it.
And she, as the New York Times reported Tuesday evening, “indeed set the tone of whether most of her fellow Democrats would — or would not — applaud after specific lines of President Bush’s speech.”
Pelosi’s actions sent a message loud and clear. Not only did her example surely have an affect upon troop moral around the world; it also reaffirmed to America’s enemies that U.S. leadership is divided over how to defend its citizens against another 9-11.
How is it that Madame Speaker and her faithful foot soldiers can swear allegiance to the American troops and not hope and pray for their success at the same time?
Even ultra-liberal Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) had the good sense to stand and show her support for an American victory in Iraq. But Speaker Pelosi has an enormous advantage: she is not running for president as a faux-moderate.
Senators on both sides of the aisle took their “support” for the troops a step further last week by declaring their opposition to the President’s troop surge with non-binding resolutions. After the full Senate votes on the measure, the House, under the watchful eye of Pelosi, will provide its own version of the bill to damage to our troops and allies.
And so, on one hand the speaker applauds the troops and on the other she would take from them what they — and we — need and want most: a decisive victory. A little contradictory isn’t it? She wants all the credit for “supporting our troops” but without the heavy lifting of actually helping them do their job. By refusing to back the mission of our troops, Pelosi has catered to the left-wing, anti-Bush base that would rather see a Republican President fail than to see their country safe and their military victorious.