After four years of holding the No. 1 spot in the blame book among Democrats in Washington, President George W. Bush has apparently come out the corner as a shining example of bipartisanship.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told the Washington Ideas Forum late last week that she has a “respectful relationship with Speaker Boehner” as they both come from working-class backgrounds and have large families.
She characterized, though, partisan gridlock as “a phenomenon of the last couple of years,” in a clear allusion to Tea Party influence.
“I have served in every possible way, as a minority leader under Republican President Bush, as Speaker under Republican President Bush, speaker under a Democratic president and a minority leader under a Democratic president,” Pelosi said.
“So I’ve seen every version of the story. And when George W. Bush was president, we accomplished a great deal together. We worked together on the biggest energy bill in the history of our country, taking tens of millions of cars off the road,” she continued. “He wanted — President Bush wanted nuclear, I wanted renewables. We came together. We came together on a stimulus package. He wanted tax rebates. I wanted infrastructure. He’s the president. … We were able to work together on the biggest AIDS, HIV/AIDS global initiatives ever. I mean he was just great on that issue. And there were other things as well.”
“So the idea that a Democratic president comes in and a Republican majority says to the president, never, does never work for you because that’s when we’re going cooperate, even when the president was saying what are your priories and how can we work together for those. …We had fierce differences on the Iraq War, for example, and that, but it didn’t mean that you didn’t find common ground other places.”
Pelosi said before coming to the forum, she addressed new members, both Democrats and Republicans. “And I told them some of this,” she said. “…That’s really what we have to get back to. The American people expect it. The American people deserve it. We know how to do it.”
“And it’s a giant kaleidoscope, Congress. One day, you and I may be on the same side of an issue and you two may on another side and the next day the two of you versus the two of us,” Pelosi continued. “It’s regional. It’s a lot of things. It’s conscience. It’s Constitution. It’s our constituencies. And it’s not always partisan.”