by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
If there’s anyone who should be sympathetic to the idea of life tenure in office, surely it is Nancy Pelosi. This is a woman who took her House seat during the Reagan administration as the handpicked successor of her district’s previous representative, spent the next 36 years accumulating power and gaining, losing, and regaining the speakership, and finally handpicked her own successor before stepping down. So either she is the world’s biggest hypocrite, or she hasn’t gotten over the fact that Ruth Bader Ginsburg did a world-historically terrible job of timing her retirement. (Readers are already asking: “Why not both?”)
Finally, Pelosi is probably one of the worst people to go around preaching about ethics standards to anyone right now. I qualify with “probably” because I suppose a lecture from Hillary Clinton on the subject would be more obnoxious, but in that case there’s at least a chance she might be in on the joke. Meanwhile Pelosi was recently embroiled in a potential insider-trading stock-dump mess the precise outrage of which is that, even if proven, it might be legal, owing to lax House ethics rules Pelosi was certainly in no hurry to revise or update or strengthen herself.
Nancy Pelosi, in both the minority and the twilight of her career, is inclined to grandiosity; it is a typical consolation for waning power. But the rest of us are not required to treat her opinions like anything but self-serving garbage. Her sudden adoption of virtues she herself notoriously lacked throughout her four-decade career reminds one of a pagan king’s deathbed conversion to Christianity just in case. One imagines Pelosi is familiar with St. Augustine’s ironic prayer as a wild youth: “Give me chastity and temperance — but not yet!”