Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday at Netroots Nation: Surprise Gore Visit Bails Out Pelosi!

When I first saw the convention schedule, I was a bit surprised to see that Nancy Pelosi had agreed to address the group at Netroots Nation by taking open questions. She’s always struck me as being somewhat uncomfortable, perhaps even nervous, about responding to direct challenges, and I knew there would be many from this group.

The questions were about what I expected, and essentially her answers were as well. In fact, I probably could have given her answers myself before she even started talking, as the basic default always seemed to be something like the following:
I agree that xxxx is an important issue, and so we need to elect more Democrats so that we can do something about it. Thank you for your efforts, because we need to continue this fight.
Um, how about needing to win a fight once in a while?

After about five or six versions of this answer, I could sense a growing frustration with the fact that Pelosi’s responses seemed indistinguishable from the complaints of angry bloggers, yet they were coming from the most powerful woman in the world who has the power to do something about the problems at hand!

But Pelosi had an ace in her pocket! She knew that she only had to run out the clock until halftime, when the real surprise guest, Al Gore, bounded onto the stage to thunderous applause. Gore’s presence, with his gravitas and nimble-minded ability to interact with the audience, was a sharp contrast to Pelosi’s weak sounding platitudes.

For Pelosi, the big bonus was that the focus immediately shifted from Iraq and impeachment to the environment and the climate crisis, where she has no significant conflict with the netroots crowd. Gore proceeded to renew his recent challenge to accelerate a bipartisan response to the climate crisis, and Pelosi was unwavering in her expressions of support for Gore’s plan.

Although I shared the excitement in the room about Gore’s visit, I also wanted to circle back and ask Pelosi for her views on the importance of targeting Democrats who are willing to vote with Republicans to obstruct progress on the climate crisis, war in the Middle East, civil rights, and all of the other problems about which she was so eager to join in our critique of the current state of affairs!

I’ll end with a few pics:

Apparently, someone was looking for a convenient way to test their flash against a large shiny object!

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