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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.

The legislator: Nancy Pelosi

Question: Considering all spheres of endeavor, who would you nominate as Leader of the Year in 2010? Why?

My pick for leader of the year goes to Nancy Pelosi, the first woman in American history to be Speaker of the House and third in line to the presidency. Despite millions spent to scapegoat her in the last election and the Republican's obvious glee at knocking her out of the Speaker's throne, Pelosi is leaving this position with dignity. More importantly, she is leaving a legacy of extraordinary accomplishment, particularly health-care and Wall Street reforms that will improve the lives of disempowered Americans and that no previous Congress could pass.

Up until the last day of her power, Pelosi worked for significant legislation--and she'll continue to push the Democratic agenda as Minority Leader in the next Congress. Most importantly, by serving as Speaker she has shown young girls everywhere that they too can have a seat of power. In my book, that inspiration is worth marking Pelosi as Leader of the Year.

Click here to return to all panel responses

By Kathryn Kolbert

 |  December 22, 2010; 10:24 AM ET
Category:  Accomplishing Goals , Congressional leadership , Government leadership , Political leadership , Women in Leadership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Let's see Qkam, Piglosi has a very low approval rating...
The current speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, remains the most unpopular congressional leader as she has been for nearly two years. Over half of voters (58%) hold an unfavorable opinion of Pelosi, including 43% with a Very Unfavorable opinion. Thirty-five percent (35%) view her favorably, with 13% who hold a Very Favorable regard for her.

By comparison, in November 2006, prior to Pelosi's election as speaker of the House, 24% viewed her favorably and 44% unfavorably.

I don't hate Pelosi personally, it is her policies and poor leadership. Very poor leadership. Apparently many agree with me.
Bad leader, worst Congress.
Qkam, you need to see a psychiatrist ....
do you have health insurance?

Posted by: dena2877 | December 28, 2010 9:21 PM
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Nancy Pelosi is only hated by the Haters, the emotionally-vulnerable, the fools who got suckered by the two draft-dodging cowards in the White House into sending our sons and daughters to the mass killings of innocent civilians, not thinking for a second what that would do to our own sons and daughters!!

I want all those, especially Vickie1 to tell me if they are sorry for the mass killings of Iraqi children and babies, huddled with their families as they were bombed, burned alive, shot to death, if they got excited by our self-righteous violence?

Posted by: gkam | December 28, 2010 11:05 AM
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Ms. Maerzie is probably one of those retired govt workers sucking CA dry. She is 70? How many more years will she be getting her tax payer funded pension? While Ms. Maerzie enjoys her unearned pension that the workers of the state have to pay for, she lauds Pelosi, the millionaire, who tells Ms. Maerzie to "hate the rich". It's too absurd to be taken seriously. Ms. Maerzie your feeding at the trough of the tax money supplied by the little people you so despise, may be coming to an end.

Posted by: vickie1 | December 27, 2010 11:45 AM
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The wicked witch of the West, Piglosi, hails from the most dysfunctional state in the union, the most bankrupt, has the worst legislature and leadership in the country.. (yes, its true, you MSNBC sheepies need to do the research).. and why the heck she was ever allowed to be at the controls of the US is beyond me. Well, since this is the most hated Congress ever, that is what one would expect, the most hated woman in America leading the pack.

Posted by: vickie1 | December 27, 2010 11:21 AM
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Ms. Maerzie, Considering that you didn't read my entire post and recognize that I was condemning both Republicans and Democrats for their lack of leadership skills.

Nor did you realize that I had to go back 22 years for Reagan, 43 years for King or 47 years for Kennedy for great examples of true leadership, I can only assume you are in your 20's to early 30's and are part of the Tweet generation. Reading only the first few lines of and making assumptions based solely on those first few sentences.

I asked Ms. Kolbert what she saw in Ms. Pelosi that she saw as great leadership qualities and skills? I wasn't derogatory to her, did not call her names, or infer anything about her sanity. I pointed out facts that can be found on MSNBC, CNN, Washington Post and yes, even on Fox news.

Yes, Ms. Maerzie, Just like I believe that Mr. Boehner is supposed to be leader of the Republican Party, I do believe that Ms. Pelosi is the main cause of the failure of the Democratic parties losses this year.

Her arrogance and heavy handedness are prime examples of her lack of leadership skills but I find that same problem with many Republicans and Democrats as well. Or did you not read from me; "We know that President Obama, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, Speaker of the House Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid, have shown little or no skill in their leadership qualities"

Yet, you didn't read that, you didn't see that I am frustrated with both political parties. You ASSUMED, that because I see no leadership skills in Ms. Pelosi, I must be in your words, "so narrow-minded as not to recognize the superb leadership skills of Nancy Pelosi would be the FOX gullibles."

Is this what you would call CRITICIAL ANALYSIS Ms, Maerzie? You took so little time to read my post in its entirety, you made a snap decision that a 5th grader would make.

In your words Ms. Maerzie, you think that "Only people who know HOW to think and think with their OWN minds should be allowed to vote." Will you be the sole proprietor of whom is GOOD enough to vote Ms. Maerzie?

Ms. Maerzie, you sound like the bigots of the early 20th century, and 50-60's..... Women and blacks are to stupid or ignorant to vote, and we must treat them like children. They are to emotional or lack the intelligence to understand the nuances of running our government.

Is this the new bigotry we have to face, championed by Ms. Maerzie? Only those with an IQ above 140 will be allowed to vote, and all others must bow to their will. I will make the assumption though, considering the animosity with which you wrote your reply, Republicans will never be a part of that government..... they too will be either to stupid to vote or hold office.

Posted by: TexasTrouble1967 | December 26, 2010 10:18 PM
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Oh, and maerzie, how dare you insult anyone's intelligence on this blog. You say you are 70 years old. I doubt it! Please stay away from your computer when you are drunk or high. You are embarrassing yourself...and the human race.

Posted by: lridinger2 | December 26, 2010 2:54 PM
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Caseyrdc. What makes you think I am a gentleman? Do you have access to information about me? And I am completely familiar with democracy. Why do you think I am writing on this blog? Oh and by the way, check your president Obama's popularity ratings. Way down since his election. To use your term, democracy...

Posted by: lridinger2 | December 26, 2010 2:44 PM
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Thank you for your comments, Maerzie. Always nice to throw out the Hitler reference to those who don't agree with you. Where Nancy Pelosi is leading, I don't want to follow - a world where accomplishment and ambition are rewarded by taxes and government repression.

As for "accomplishes feats the super wealthy don't like!", she really mustn't like herself. Face it folks, she's happy to tax families making $250,000 and trying to send kids to college and make a better life, because she and her family are worth SO MUCH MONEY THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER. And she's never been afraid to LEAD on legislation that benefits the interests of her husband's and family's business interests.

So let's see who's eyes are covered with wool, and let's be thankful that she led her party to an historic thumping in the last election.

I know this will shock Maerzie, but I have a college education - paid for by hard work, an attribute not admired by Mrs. Pelosi, who's lived a life of privilege.

Posted by: MJA5 | December 26, 2010 8:51 AM
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Thank you, "caseyrdc"! Excellent posts. It is such a shame to find out how easily some of these people can get the wool pulled over their eyes. It certainly doesn't speak well for our educational system. They can't ALL be highschool dropouts! I can't imagine anyone parroting such slander simply because they heard it somewhere else? Pelosi has been the most successful majority leader in my 70 years of living (SINCE I learned HOW to think!) These posters obviously believe everything they're told without question. Hitler would've loved them! They don't even QUESTION "why" the Republican Party would want to destroy Pelosi.
"RickShawJim" just accepts it as fact: "But Pelosi is one of the most hated women in America." (And then even REPEATS it!)

YES!! BECAUSE she is successful and accomplishes feats the super wealthy don't like! Good thing all you people are so wealthy cuz not a single one of you sounds as if he/she's making enough money to be so AGAINST the Party of the PEOPLE! It actually sounds as if you tend to vote AGAINST yourself!

Posted by: Maerzie | December 26, 2010 1:04 AM
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The ONLY people who could possibly be so narrow-minded as not to recognize the superb leadership skills of Nancy Pelosi would be the FOX gullibles. It is ONLY those people who let others do their thinking so pay no attention to politics or the facts, who are the parrots here. They have heard others cndemn Nancy Pelosi, so, like typical second graders, they, too, will get on the band-wagon and condemn her too. The whole BUNCH of them together could not have accomplished all the successes this woman accomplished in this passing session of Congress, which has inspired multiples of historic legislation.

They identify their ignorance of what's happening simply by signing their names to their drivel. They are so shallow they don't even understand that the REASON the Republican TV network wants her to be in disfavor is simply BECAUSE she is so good so is considered a threat to Republican games.

And, to the idiot, who is SO far behing, she thnks Nancy Pelosi was supposed to lead the entire Democratic party, DUHHH!! PLEASE TRY to research and know what you're talking about before you bury yourself. Good thing pseudonyms are used on here because nobody would ever sign that confusion with her REAL name.
"TexasTrouble1967" wrote: Ms. Pelosi surely didn't lead the members of her own party. She lacked leadership skills in influencing voters to re-elect democrats to office, and even went so far as to prevent republicans from even being part of the legislative process to help enact laws." (AND) "Ms. Pelosi steam rolled legislation through that 70% of Americans' didn't want...."

If you haven't YET figured out that the $4 BILLION DOLLARS worth of trash defamation propaganda, paid for by the Republican Corporations' "PERSONS" against our best Democratic Congress people, BOUGHT the majority of those Republican seats by LYING to voters, well, there is no hope for you. A box of rocks shouldn't be allowed to vote anyway. Only people who know HOW to think and think with their OWN minds should be allowed to vote. A box of rocks obviously doesn't HAVE a mind!

As far as the 70% of people who didn't want any of the legislation that this Congress passed, please show your statistics! There are NONE to that effect because it's a lie. If that's a FOX "statistic" , please use a search engine to inform your rocks how many times FOX has been found to be LYING, PURPOSELY to "con" the gullibles like yourself!

Please pray for some enlightenment, "TroubledTexan"! so your brain actually starts working by itself.

Posted by: Maerzie | December 26, 2010 12:40 AM
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Ms. Kolbert,

You make me concerned for what is supposed to be a thought provoking logical and emotional process to choose whom would be leader of the year.

Could you please explain how Ms. Pelosi, in losing this years election single handedly could even remotely be considered "Leader of the year"?

Merriam-Websters defines "Leadership" as: the power or ability to lead other people.

Ms. Pelosi surely didn't lead the members of her own party. She lacked leadership skills in influencing voters to re-elect democrats to office, and even went so far as to prevent republicans from even being part of the legislative process to help enact laws.

Under what auspices did Ms. Pelosi give any indication of Leadership?

John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Ronald Reagan were leaders. While we may not all agree with them politically, they truly showed inspiration, dignity, trustworthiness, and empathy. Fundamental ideas that all great leaders are able to embrace.

Ms. Pelosi has shown little example of these traits that leadership entail.

We know that President Obama, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, Speaker of the House Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid, have shown little or no skill in their leadership qualities. Wikileaks has now 100's of examples of each of these politicians failing to manifest those leadership qualities we hold as true examples of great leadership.

Each has shown they lack, dignity, trustworthiness, or empathy. We know they all have lied to the American people, concerning the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Copenhagen Accords, the cost of the newly created Health care bill.

Ms. Pelosi steam rolled legislation through that 70% of Americans' didn't want, was adamantly against the war on which she has changed her mind, and no way has shown an form of leadership skills that Americans are looking for.

Please enlighten us on the august skills that you see in this woman that I and many other know she is missing.

Posted by: TexasTrouble1967 | December 25, 2010 6:24 PM
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Oh, and for the gentleman who asked "How did Nancy Pelosi get elected speaker," I say: There was an ELECTION. The ones who won elected her. It's called democracy. It's how it works. Check it out some time. Same thing with those who say Obama is "illegitimate" and want to "take our country back." Take it back from whom? You mean the majority of Americans who elected them? Think about it, if you can. Who are "real Americans" who believe in democracy and supporting our president, Republican OR Democrat? And who are hypocritical frauds?

Posted by: caseyrdc | December 25, 2010 12:50 PM
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OK, can we deal in facts and not popular "wisdom" please? By all measures by independent organizations and journalists, the Congress just ending was the most productive since the New Deal. While Americans sit around and gripe about the people THEY send to Congress, in Northern California we're proud of Nancy Pelosi, one of the most effective Speakers in American history and a trailblazing woman. Of course, ya'll won't agree..."liberal Californians," and all that. There's no convincing the ignorant. Too many Americans spend too much time listening to Rush, Newt and Glenn and not enough time examining the facts.

Posted by: caseyrdc | December 25, 2010 12:45 PM
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But Pelosi is one of the most hated women in America. Leader of what? The most hated Congress? I don't think that is something to be proud of. Actually with the loses she single handedly brought about in the house, by reigning over the worst congress ever, she should be hiding her face in shame. I guess if Kolbert says the lie long enough and often enough, she will actually believe herself. We don't.

Posted by: rickshawjim | December 25, 2010 12:25 AM
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Furthermore, why is the Post allowing a woman to be a columnist from a sexist college such as Barnard to even contribute to their paper?

Posted by: lridinger2 | December 24, 2010 7:22 PM
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I think a cow chip is a better choice than Pelosi. Hailing from the most liberal area of the US, how did she become Speaker of the House? She is the main reason for the Republicans gaining control of the House. Kolbert has a marijuana farm in her basement and she is not giving or selling any of it. She is smoking all of it herself.

Posted by: lridinger2 | December 24, 2010 7:09 PM
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Posted by: drthywalters1 | December 24, 2010 12:01 PM
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I am in complete agreement with Ms Kolbert.
Regardless of what anyone says about drinking kool aid or being 100% brain dead. A truly stupid statement. Even though this person is entitled to make stupid statements, it's remains stupid.

Posted by: drthywalters1 | December 24, 2010 11:54 AM
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When I saw Obama's name on the list I thought that was outlandish enough but Pelosi?!?!? Someone dial 911 quick 'cause this Kathryn Kolbert is obviously 100% brain dead and OD'ing on the Kool-Aid.

Posted by: franklinone | December 24, 2010 10:25 AM
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