Pelosi and Friends in San Jose

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi covered a lot of territory in a brief visit to the San Jose Rotary’s weekly lunch meeting today—from the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy to the empowerment of young women (the subject of her book, Know Your Power, which she signed at the event). But she clearly wanted the audience to take home one message: “We must have health care reform.”

On two occasions, she listed the four goals of the Democrats’ reform package: “Improve quality. Lower costs. Preserve choice. Expand coverage.”

A longtime proponent of the single-payer plan, in which the government would administer the nation’s health insurance, Pelosi voiced strong support for Pres. Barack Obama’s alternate proposal to expand employer-based insurance. However, she said in no uncertain terms that the government would still have a role to play.

“The public option is essential,” Pelosi said, “because it enables us to increase competition.”

While a few dozen protesters rallied outside the Rotary Club’s 4th Street meeting room,  Pelosi insisted that the proposals now being considered are not budget busters.

“We will not go forward with this legislation unless it’s paid for,” she said, “and also bends the curve as we go into the future. We must bring health care costs down.”

She quoted the president as saying “health care reform is entitlement reform.” And, cognizant of her audience, she vowed that if the president’s plan passes, health insurance “will be much more affordable to small businesses, to make them more competitive domestically and internationally.”

In a press conference following the event, Pelosi said “We welcome the protesters. It’s the American way. I’ve been part of protests myself.” Pelosi said, however, that the protesters should not be allowed to shut down the debate.

Pelosi, who wore a pastel gray-green pants suit and a necklace of large beads, said that the last time she saw Sen. Kennedy, she promised him that she would bring health care reform to a vote.

“We will do it—if we can—in a bipartisan fashion,” she said. “But we must do it.”

Old Democrats Club

The Rotary event was billed as a book signing, and was set up as a conversation between Pelosi and Rep. Zoe Lofgren. They were introduced by Rotary President Rod Diridon, who served with Lofgren in the 1980s on the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. Rep. Mike Honda, who later served on the same board, was in the audience, as was San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

Pelosi demonstrated one aspect of her considerable political skill, ladling eloquent praise on the local politicians in attendance, and the Rotary Club itself, which she called “a magnificent manifestation of patriotism and community.”

She pointed out that she received an award from Rotary several years ago, for her work on polio, which still hangs in her office. To illustrate her fondness for the organization, she pulled a dollar bill out of her purse and held it in the air (apparently it’s an old Rotarian fundraising trick—Diridon corrected her, informing her that at the high-rolling Silicon Valley club, it’s generally done with a $1,000 bill.) Pelosi then pointed out the Great Seal of the United States, which appears on the bill. “Novus Ordo Seclorum,” she read, and translated: “A New Order Forever.”

“No people in the history of the world had ever had the confidence to declare to the world that what they were doing would last forever,” she said. “But these men did. This band of brothers. And their wives.”


  1. Nancy Pelosi, like all politicians, is a lying sack of doo-doo. She completely whitewashes the size of the federal deficit which “will hit a record $1.6 trillion this year” according to USA today:

    The congressional budget office’s “Chief Says Democrats’ Proposals Lack Necessary Controls on Spending:”

    Don’t buy Nancy’s lies that socialized medicine is affordable.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful and well reasoned comment. Do you often use terms like “lying sack of doo-doo” to make your case or were you on recess and the other kids made you say it?

    • The middle class picks up the tab, Pelosi takes the credit! Nice! Pelosi and friends will NOT be a part of this socialized medicine plan you can guarantee that.

      • Who do you think is paying for the broken system we have now? I’d rather have an improved system that covers everyone than the current disaster that is inflicted on us by the profiteering insurance companies. I’d rather have a health care system by health care than profit.

  2. “No people in the history of the world had ever had the confidence to declare to the world that what they were doing would last forever,” she said. “But these men did. This band of brothers. And their wives.”

    How pathetic. First, Pelosi is wrong about the forever business—Hitler made that boast in his Reichstag speech. If you’re going to quote history you should first read it. Second, how patently obvious (and odious) to insert, “and their wives” in her praise of our tremendously courageous and learned Founders. I don’t recall her, or “Senator, not Ma’am” Boxer, ever giving their husbands credit for their work in Washington.

    America wanted women in charge, well, this is it, folks. Blah, blah, blah—meaningless, inaccurate words from hypocrites with plastic, painted faces, whose every breath is political, and who have demonstrated themselves just as willing to needlessly put our troops in harm’s way as would be the most testosterone-crazed of men. In short, nothing but a new flavor of bullshit from the bullshit factory.

  3. I would have guessed that those in charge of SJI would be unequivocally against torture.
    How then, do they justify tormenting unsuspecting readers with the excruciating image that appears at the top of this article?
    Diridon, Pelosi, and Lofgren all at once?
    Geez, make us look at Medusa’s head whydontcha.

    • And what do you suppose “for the ages” means? It means forever.

      Our founding fathers, as Nancy Pelosi reminds us, were big thinkers. FYI: The motto “Novus Ordo Seclorum” was suggested by Charles Thomson, the Founding Father chosen by the Continental Congress to design the Great Seal. Thomson himself wrote that it signified “the beginning of the new American Era.”

      In “Common Sense” Thomas Paine wrote about the new American era: “The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind… ‘Tis not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected, even to the end of time, by the proceedings now.”

      Pelosi got it exactly right.

  4. I’m amazed that people with all the answers never run for political office. Please don’t deprive us of your wisdom and education. Get out there and run, for Pete’s sake!

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