(Bumped -- kos)
Nancy Pelosi has just become the first woman in the history of the United States to be elected Speaker of the House, the first woman to be [second] in the line of succession to the Presidency.
And how do the country's major papers opinion pages handle this historic moment? They don't. No mention at the LA Times, and WaPo features another George Will set of prevarications running the gambit from the New Deal worsening the Depression to the fact that minimum wage workers really aren't poor.
Actually, the NYT does feature a column about Nancy Pelosi, from the always odious David Brooks, this time adding a dash of sexism to his usual drivel.
Some people believe that Pelosi is an airhead, but that is wrong. Some people believe she is a radical San Francisco liberal, but that, too, is wrong. The main fact to know about Pelosi is that she is a creature of the modern fund-raising system. Some politicians rise because they run political machines. Some rise because they are great communicators. Pelosi has risen because she is a master of the thousand-dollar-a-plate fundraising circuit....
She paid her dues selecting party favors, arranging seating charts (after that, legislation is easy), and laying thick dollops of obsequiousness on cranky old moguls and their helmet hair spa-spouses. She has done what all political fund-raisers do: tell rich people things they already believe, demonize the other side, motivate the giving with Manichaean tales of good versus evil.
Airhead? Party planner? Thank you, Mr. Brooks, for so minimizing the achievements of this talented politician. Would David Brooks ever discuss another, male politician in these terms? Would David Brooks ever ask if a prominent Republican, say George Bush, was an airhead? If he got to where he is in politics because of his name, his family connections, his money?
One paper, fittingly Ms. Pelosi's hometown paper, the San Francisco Chronicle rightly recognizes the import:
NANCY PELOSI'S election as speaker of the House will bring a moment of history today, to be followed by 100 hours of furious legislative activity.
First, let's pause to recognize the historic significance of the first woman and first Californian to assume a position that will put her second in succession to the presidency of the United States....
There is an aura of high expectation about Pelosi's ascension in the San Francisco Bay Area, not only because of what her role means for this region's clout in the nation's capital, but also because her dignity and capabilities are so well known here. Pelosi has represented San Francisco in Congress since 1987. As a rank-and-file member and more recently as Democratic leader, Pelosi has proved adept at building alliances with a charm undergirded by the toughness and shrewdness of a veteran who has navigated the shark-infested political waters of San Francisco.
Congratulations, Speaker Pelosi, for your past successes and for your historic achievement today. While the media seems loathe to recognize this historic moment, we celebrate it.