Pelosi: Passing Healthcare By Decree?

Now that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she may use the so-called self-executing rule to push through Obamacare, it’s time to borrow a line from Saturday Night Live’s "Weekend Update" and ask: Really?

You’re going to pass legislation that places one-sixth of the economy under federal control without an actual House vote? Really? You think House Democrats will be able to claim that they didn’t vote for the healthcare bill by voting instead for a package of changes, and then "deeming" the Senate bill passed? Really?

You believe voters are dumb enough to be fooled by this? You do? Really?

It’s tempting to express shock over such a brazen undercutting of the democratic process, but nobody who’s followed Pelosi’s career since she became speaker in 2006 should be surprised. Pelosi has shown repeatedly by her actions and deeds that she believes concepts such as process, fairness and accuracy are for suckers. She’s willing to do and say just about anything that furthers her agenda, which seems to alternate between promoting big government, catering to Democratic interests, and demonizing Republicans.

That may be why her national approval ratings remain in the dumpster. A Rasmussen Reports survey released March 12 showed that Pelosi continues to be "the most unpopular congressional leader." Not even Senate President Harry Reid can touch her numbers: She’s viewed unfavorably by 64 percent of voters, which ties a previous low set in August, while just 29 percent view her favorably.

Given that she represents most of San Francisco, perhaps the safest Democratic seat in the nation, Pelosi doesn’t have to worry about reelection. But other House Democrats do, and ads linking them to Pelosi are already circulating in tight congressional contests. Expect them to feature many of Pelosi’s greatest hits, which include:

· Ethics: Before Pelosi became speaker, she weighed in against the tarnished image of the Republican majority by saying, "Maybe it will take a woman to clean up the House." Her tenure to date shows that it’s been a while since Pelosi picked up a mop. She defended Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel’s violations of House gift rules, saying his actions hadn’t "jeopardized our country in any way." And she’s been mum on how much she knew previously about ex-Democratic Rep. Eric Massa’s sordid lifestyle. The House voted 402-1 last week to urge the ethics committee to keep the probe open after revelations that Massa’s chief of staff notified Pelosi’s office of his boss’s improprieties in October;

· Prima donna behavior: Pelosi’s staff demanded, and often received, special treatment in her use of military planes. Emails obtained by Judicial Watch via a FOIA request reveal her staff griping about plane size and layovers, while military officials worried about her office’s costly last-minute cancellations;

· Gaffes and whoppers: Pelosi claimed she had never been informed that the CIA had engaged in waterboarding, although an intelligence report showed she had attended a briefing on the technique. She said "we never asked for a larger plane, period," while emails show her staff demanded larger military aircraft on at least three occasions. She also stated that the Catholic Church was undecided on when life begins. Her gaffes include the statement that, every month without an economic-recovery package, "500 million Americans lose their jobs." Another time, she called natural gas "a clean, cheap alternative to fossil fuels." Dan Quayle was pilloried for misspelling "potato";

· Commitment to process: Even before the latest maneuver on healthcare, Pelosi has hardly been a model of transparency. She tried to push through the vote on the original bill before House members had read it, and then refused to allow CSPAN to record the conference committee meetings. She criticized anti-healthcare protests as "un-American" and characterized protestors as swastika-toting radicals.

Last spring, Republican leaders such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called on Pelosi to step down over concerns that she had become a threat to national security. Those calls have largely disappeared as Republicans realize that, with the mid-term elections looming, Pelosi’s biggest threat is to the political careers of House Democrats.