Nancy Pelosi is stepping down as US House speaker, and few will miss her
The 82-year-old will exit office deeply unpopular from all sides
The 118th United States Congress will be inaugurated on January 3, 2023, ushering in a number of changes, including Republican control of the House of Representatives and an attendant flip of the office of the speaker. That means that long-time Democratic Party leader Nancy Pelosi will have to give up her gavel and hand it over, most likely to Republican leader Kevin McCarthy.
This has been Pelosi’s second tenure as speaker, as she served the first time from 2007-2011 and made history during that time by being the first – and so far only – woman to hold that title. Indeed, Pelosi’s record as the third-highest constitutional officer in the US has been historic – but maybe for some reasons that aren’t so savory.
For one, the California Democrat is a notorious self-dealer. For instance, Pelosi was one of the most high-profile members of Congress implicated in a five-month corruption investigation by Business Insider. She is reported to have deep holdings in companies such as Tesla, Disney, Alphabet (Google’s parent company), and Meta (Facebook’s parent company), which she is directly responsible for regulating as a member of Congress.
And it should also not be a surprise that she has repeatedly come out against barring members of Congress from trading stocks and other financial assets, even if she did an about face when public pressure mounted. “We are a free-market economy. They (members of Congress) should be able to participate in that (trading),” she told reporters in December 2021.
There is actually an argument to be made that indeed members of Congress should be able to engage in such investments. After all, they have to pay two sets of housing costs in their district and in the notoriously expensive Washington, DC area. They also have to pay all of their own traveling expenses to and from their district. And they have to do all of that, plus probably also have a family, with a salary of $174,000. It’s not all that glamorous when you think about it.
But if we look at Pelosi’s net worth of $114,662,521, according to 2018 data by OpenSecrets, then we can see that this argument hardly applies. In fact, if you look at the chart of her individual wealth over the years, you’ll notice that her wealth exponentially increased with her position as speaker. It’s like her power in Congress directly translates to her own personal wealth accumulation – which, I think we can all agree, would be the definition of corruption.
Along with being greedy, the outgoing speaker is a devout war hawk. She once told reporters in Damascus in 2007, during George W. Bush’s presidency, that “there is no division on policy between us and President Bush, be it on Israel, Palestine or Syria.” For anyone familiar with Bush’s genocidal Middle East scheme, this is basically like saying, “Yeah, we completely agree with Satan on everything.”
She’s also been instrumental in helping presidential administrations evade multilateral organizations and international law. In a letter to the president (again Bush) on the issue of Palestine, she said that Congress is “concerned that certain nations or groups, if given a meaningful role in monitoring progress made on the ground, might only lessen the chances of moving forward on a realistic path towards peace.” According to her and her colleagues, “The United States has developed a level of credibility and trust with all parties in the region which no other country shares.”
Even her August trip to Taiwan, amid protests from Beijing that such a thing could fray tensions in the all-important US-China relationship, was dangerously reckless at best and deliberately courting war at worst. It could have easily escalated into open combat between the world’s foremost military powers, which is an eventuality that has become far more likely as a result of her visit in any case.
Given everything just laid out here (and there is no doubt more that could be mentioned), it should come as no surprise that Pelosi will exit her role as speaker in a negative light. According to YouGov as of writing, her favorability rating is sitting at a measly 40.1% – which is actually less than President Joe Biden’s historically low approval rating of 43.1%, according to the FiveThirtyEight opinion poll tracker.
To put in perspective how unpopular Pelosi is, according to Public Policy Polling, a higher share of Americans believe that JFK was killed by a conspiracy (51%) and that Bush intentionally misled the public on Iraq’s WMDs (44%) than like Pelosi, with just a bit less (37%) thinking global warming is a hoax. For the sake of our country, it is to be hoped that the 82-year-old will retire from political life after her term as speaker comes to a close. But unfortunately, as is ever the case with Pelosi, her career might just outstay its welcome and drag on endlessly.