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Kathryn Kolbert

Kathryn Kolbert

Kathryn Kolbert, a public-interest attorney and journalist, is the Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, an interdisciplinary center devoted to the theory and practice of women's leadership.

Pelosi deserves plaudits

Question: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week confronted a dilemma faced by many leaders: whether to step aside when things go wrong. What should be the criteria guiding such a decision? Did Pelosi make the right choice? Should she have offered to resign but let her caucus make the decision? What about Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid?

I resist the temptation to jump on the Megabus that is driving the trash talk against Nancy Pelosi. The campaign of vilification orchestrated by Republicans with millions of dollars in often anonymous campaign funds was masterful, but Dems should not be swayed by their opponents' propaganda. Pelosi deserves plaudits for rising to the top of the House when very few women could even get elected. And her record of passing historic health-care legislation, a needed economic stimulus and Wall Street regulation that no previous Democratic Congress had been able to do demonstrates her extraordinary skill in holding often contentious Dems in line. That's the job of the next minority leader, and I for one support her seeking the post. If the caucus objects, someone can stand up and challenge her. Let the votes fall where they may.

By Kathryn Kolbert

 |  November 10, 2010; 1:43 PM ET
Category:  Congressional leadership , Government leadership , Leadership personalities , Political leadership , Politics , Succession , Women in Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Things fall apart | Next: Why Pelosi didn't fail


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I am a democrat and I have found Pelosi's behavior embarrassing and divisive. Her ego intrudes upon every issue. She talks about the importance of female leadership but she threw Hillary under the bus in favor of Obama; and now she gets to reap the reward of that choice. It was clear to me from the outset that Obama would do her in politically or that she would have to denounce Obama's leadership, such as it was. Her arrogance in thinking that she is the equivalent of Sam Rayburn is laughable. The Dems had such a majority--such potential--and it all went for naught. Nancy needs a reality check.

Posted by: Beckola | November 12, 2010 11:39 AM
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I think Nancy Pelosi has done an extraordinary job; probably one of the most powerful House Leaders since Tip O'Neal and Sam Rayburn. To an earlier commenter, she HAS been vilified by the right; read the WaPo blogs for the past six months to understand just how much she, personally, has been mocked and insulted. Her strength, focus and political acumen is needed now, more than ever. While the right will deny this reality, the majority of Americans are NOT against health reform, Wall Street regulation, consumer protections and a strong federal government to help secure the safety and well being of our citizenry - that includes Social Security and Medicare. Pelosi will help protect the strides we have made so far.

Posted by: sherrill3 | November 12, 2010 8:54 AM
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Other than in her home district, how did they villify her in the ads other than to say a vote against a Democrat was a vote against Pelosi. People already hated her. The only Democrat I've seen as more self serving was Al Gore.

Posted by: akmzrazor | November 12, 2010 6:51 AM
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Your article fell in a partisan hole in the first sentence where you take a poke at Republican funds. The Unions were the biggest spenders in this election and could not verify whether their funds came from overseas dues or not. Obama rode to power with several hundred million in undisclosed funds. The Republicans, under the architect Mr Rove, are now just so much better at it than Democrats, so get over it.

As for Pelosi I think she is worth at least 4 to 5 percentage points for the Republicans,so please stay so that we can experience a complete wipeout of Democrats in 2012.

Posted by: mckenna7 | November 11, 2010 5:10 PM
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Mrs. Pelosi is a strong leader and a great female American...GOP has trouble with both aspects. Run for the leadership role, Mrs. Pelosi and ignore the ramble.

Posted by: fairness3 | November 11, 2010 1:29 PM
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