Clift, Eleanor, Newsweek
Byline: Eleanor Clift
To conservatives, the speaker of the House personifies big government in the age of Obama. But it's liberals she seems destined to disappoint.
Clift: You are seen as this far-out liberal, when you actually are quite traditional. Pelosi: I don't choose to spend my time countering mischaracterizations that the other side puts out there. Because we are effective, I continue to be the target.
I think a lot of people thought that once President Obama was elected, we wouldn't see the traditional bargaining and compromising and things taking so long. The president became president with a nation in crisis--an economic crisis, a budget crisis, two wars, and a climate crisis. People want change, but they are menaced by it; they are cautious about it.
If you look at liberals these days, they are restive, disappointed, and as we speak here today, the president is ready to send more troops to Afghanistan. How do you deal with the liberals, your people? Well, we have a big tent in our party. And I was elected to represent my district and others were elected to represent their districts. [But] I always say, what are the three most important issues facing Congress? Our children, our children, our children. So, if you look at it that way, we are a pretty homogeneous group.
The passage of a health-care bill was a major victory, but it was clouded a bit by the compromise on reproductive rights. [This] was an issue that you and your generation fought for, and a lot of the women serving in Congress felt betrayed. There are certain elements--let's not identify them by party, but largely the Republican Party--that wanted to defeat this bill. …