photo by Matthew Bradley
NANCY PELOSI TALKS TALL. When the democrats won control of congress in 2007 she made a lot of noise about how the newly-empowered left would flex its political muscle and get things done. Since then the House has passed some stuff, notably the minimum wage bill — which stalled and sputtered and then passed after major revamping — but mostly it’s been hot air. America cried for change, and Pelosi’s democrats responded with a tepid murmur.
And now she thinks she can make a difference in China?
I rarely digress into political tirades on this blog, but when I read today that the speaker of the House wants President Bush to skip Beijing’s opening ceremonies, I cringed. Here’s someone who has called herself “firm and strong,” but who has repeatedly shot down moves to impeach the president over the Iraq war — someone who has pussyfooted around efforts to withdraw troops, and who has ignored the general sentiment of the American people.
But Pelosi’s apparently beyond all that now. She’s international, man. She’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, pushing for human rights and freedom in Tibet. And as lofty as a cause as that is, coming from her it’s total bullshit.
At her meeting with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, Pelosi said: “If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China’s oppression and China and Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak on behalf of human rights anywhere in the world.”
It almost as if she thinks — after we invaded a country on a false premise, refused to hold anyone accountable and then turned a blind eye to illegal torture — we had the “moral authority” to do so in the first place.
The thing is, I’m not sure Pelosi is thinking at all. She’s just playing political softball, trying to make herself look good by taking a “hard line” with Bush, calling for some vaguely symbolic act which she knows he won’t deliver on. She’s wasting our time — and the Dalai Lama’s for that matter.
For all the press flurry that Pelosi’s stance has generated, her words ultimately mean nothing to China (except a nuisance) and nothing for Tibetans. We know this because we’ve heard it all before. All that big talk just trailed off into nothing, and left us with very little we could see.