Former Speaker of the House and Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi was interviewed by Zerlina Maxwell on Saturday at Netroots Nation 2013 in front of a large audience. She was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
Senator Boxer provided a ringing endorsement of all the accomplishments Rep. Pelosi had accomplished throughout her life and especially as Speaker of the House. She also used the opportunity to castigate Republican intransigence in Congress.
Ms. Pelosi discussed what she called Republican Amateur hour for their handling of the farm bill. Sixty two Republicans voted against the bill. Republicans knew they needed Democratic help to pass the bill yet passed two controversial amendments that peeled off most of the necessary support they would have had from Democrats. Steep cuts in food stamps already ensured that most Democrats would peel off. Adding an amendment to eliminate production limits on dairy processors and requiring seeking work for food stamps which in some cases are very problematic ensured the bill’s failure.
When Rep. Pelosi defended the President’s NSA surveillance continuation, one member of the audience stood up and heckled her. He stated the surveillance ‘made us less safe’. He continued to shout even though the moderator told him he could submit (or tweet) his questions. He was removed from the room for not letting up even as the speaker encouraged them to let him stay. Ms. Pelosi illustrated that under President Obama a legal framework for the surveillance was in place as opposed to under Bush which was done solely by the executive branch.
When Ms. Pelosi said that Edward Snowden, the young man that stole secret documents and fled to Hong Kong, broke the law, she was booed by about 10% of the audience. She did not back down.
Later an attendee stated that America was outsourcing its national security. Pelosi agreed that should be stopped. Her reply elicited a strong applause.
As the afternoon went on Ms. Pelosi won the crowed over by articulating the strong progressive actions that had already been effected and that need to be effected. She discussed income disparity and was very strong on the desire to effect middle class centric policies. Ms. Pelosi’s performance is a clear barometer that illustrated why she was one of the most effective Speakers of The House this country has ever seen.