Speaker Nancy Pelosi was honored Sunday with the 2019 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. Why? She was honored for her Obamacare power grab and in recognition of the Democrats’ new majority in the House of Representatives. No, really.
Only in the world of elite liberals would a bare-knuckle power grab for control of 1/6 of the American economy, accomplished with only the votes of one party, be held as an example of personal courage. The JFK Presidential Library and Museum had to reach all the way back to 2010 for this recognition.
The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare has an innocent enough sounding name but it was the single most divisive action taken by Democrats in Congress in my lifetime. The claims of improving the lives of Americans through more affordable access to health care insurance earned four Pinocchios from the Washington Post. “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”, said President Obama over and over again in the lead-up to the vote on Obamacare in the House. That claim received an award of its own – the 2013 Lie of the Year – from Politi-Fact, a left-leaning fact-checking site.
Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House at that time and she strong-armed skeptical Democrats into agreeing to vote yes on Obamacare by offering sweeteners as incentives. In other words, she promised pork barrel spending in their districts as a way of buying their support. There is nothing courageous in that. It was standard, old-school political wheeling and dealing. She was complicit in spreading the lie of the year in order to win the support of Congressmen hesitant to help destroy the health insurance coverage of millions of Americans.
As we know now, Obamacare passed in the U.S. Senate on Christmas Eve, 2009 and the House took up that bill and passed it in March 2010. Not a single Republican voted for it. Obamacare is the only huge entitlement voted into place on a single party vote.
The second reason cited for Pelosi’s award is the new majority in the House. Pelosi is largely credited for ushering in that majority by recruiting, mentoring and providing financial support to candidates willing to run against Republican incumbents. In other words, it’s her job. Pelosi is known as a tireless fundraiser and the Democrat Party is dependent on her non-stop fundraising. She wisely recruited Democrats to run who were more moderate-sounding candidates in the 2018 mid-term election cycle who could win in Republican districts. With the help of a hyper-energetic turn-out from Democrats, Pelosi successfully took back the gavel and became the Speaker of the House again. And, here we are.
As Pelosi accepted the award, she thanked her colleagues, but only the Democrats, for the recognition. How’s that for bringing people together? Taking a swipe at the minority party isn’t exactly courageous, either. It’s to be expected in today’s toxic political atmosphere.
She recalled working with the late Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy to pass the Affordable Care Act, against all odds, and said she shares the award “with all of my colleagues — Democratic colleagues — in the House… . They were all profiles in courage.”
Her supporters sang her praises. They included a freshman Democrat who is often at odds with the Speaker’s attempts to rein in her far-left political inclinations and one of President Trump’s personal friends.
Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, a Boston Democrat, said that as a newcomer to the chamber, she values Pelosi’s counsel.
“She embodies a unique combination of grit and grace, and she’s one of the greatest strategists and tacticians of our political life . . . in modern times, and we owe her for the passage of the Affordable Care Act,” Pressley said.
Among the many other politicians arriving were former Secretary of State John Kerry, US Senator Edward J. Markey, and Massachusetts House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo.
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who has been quiet publicly since he was charged in February with soliciting prostitution in a Florida day spa, also walked the red carpet but declined to speak to reporters.
It seems to me that a true act of courage would have been for Speaker Pelosi to strip Rep. Ilhan Omar of her committee assignment on the House Foreign Relations Committee. An act of courage would have been to shepherd through a denouncement of anti-Semite remarks so frequently heard from some of some freshman congresswomen in the House instead of a generic one-size-fits-all bill that addressed hate speech in general. And real courage would be to try and work on issues that might have support from Republicans instead of trashing conservatives and President Trump while calling for tolerance and civility from everyone else.