Much as been made on talk shows, radio, electronic media and print media of that famous walk across the capitalgrounds by the Congressional leaders, in particular, House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.   The Capitol balcony had Republican congressmen and women holding signs and leading chants from a sea of people on the lawn, the sidewalks and the roadways were lined with angry people shouting ‘kill the bill’ and other slogans. 

The picture below has been circulated all over the Internet.  It has been perceived as a victory lap by both parties. 

That crowd appeared extremely hostile if one is to assume that angry people are hostile.  Depending on who you listen to, the crowds have been described as peaceful but angry and others have called the crowds dangerous, hostile, and that getting through them was very much like running a gauntlet.

Many commentators have criticized Nancy Pelosi and the Congressmen and women for walking on the street.  Many have said they could have chosen another route that didn’t fan the flames. Most Fox News commentators vocalized that Nancy Pelosi did not have to go to the Capitol along that route. Glenn Beck took things a step further.  He accused her of goading the crowd and ‘asking for it:’

[Note:  the date when Pelosi teared up over Harvy Milk was Sept. 2009.  Beck conveniently made it look like her speech was a more recent response.]


I have a problem with anyone saying that a person walking on the street is ‘asking for it.’ That is tantamount to saying a rape victim was ‘asking for it’ because of their attire. Should members of congress have to slink away through the underground parking garage? Should the crowd have been allowed to get that close? Should Pelosi et al not walked from one building to the other? The gavel she carried was the one used when Medicare passed.

Have there been other times in history where legislation or election outcomes have been this contentious? Who took their victory laps? Is it tacky to take victory laps? How about the election of 2008? Impeachment hearings, the Civil Rights Act(s)?  I can’t see either party apologizing for passing legislation.

20 Thoughts to “Was Nancy Pelosi “Asking for It?””

  1. Wolverine

    Moon, but when I saw that photograph, the first thing that came into my mind was “in your face.” Given the absolutely contentious nature of the issue, I think this walk and the photographed gesture by Pelosi were the wrong things to do They only served to fan the flames at a time when we were badly in need of trying to tamp down those flames. Given the way things are right now in this country, I don’t think we need anyone to fan more flames.

  2. Do you think that ‘asking for it’ in reference to violence, taunting etc excuses some of the hostility? Are there instances in the past of either party taking their victory lap? These are the sorts of things I forget about from one legislative crisis to the next.

  3. Pat.Herve

    I have not seen much on this topic – but when they do not acknowledge the crowds, they (the talking heads) spin it that the elected officials are ignoring the issue, when the elected officials walk by the crowd, they are accused if fanning the flames. You cannot win.

  4. I sort of thought the same thing Pat. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. I believe Pelosi would have been accused, at least by the talking heads, if not the opposition, of running and hiding in shame or something.

    Actually, there has been a lot of some of the various stations about the people pictured being ‘in your face.’ Woverine felt that way also, from what he has said above. Some of this is bound to happen. Things just seems more virulent than usual over this legislation.

    Of course my very own grandmother nearly ripped my face off when I was a kid because she thought I was criticizing the Medicare bill around the time it was being passed. I hadn’t mentioned it. She was going deaf and spoiling for a fight on Medicare. She wanted it. Given the time that was and my age, I probably didn’t even know there was such a bill.

    However, I had a hard time convincing Ta-ta that I wasn’t after her Medicare. I will never forget it. I also made sure never to criticiize Medicare either. Ta-ta lived to be 105 and she did get her money’s worth out of it.

  5. This was definitely an in your face, gloating, victory lap. I saw the show and he did not make it sound like it was recent. He basically was saying, “Remember this?” and pointing out that Pelosi was one of the firsts to call the Tea Party dangerous and nazis. If she’s so afraid of the Tea Party, shouldn’t she take care? Shouldn’t she have cops?

    You have asked whether the crowd should be allowed to be that close this time and one other. YES. In fact, crowd members should be allowed to walk up next to her and let her know what they think. She chose her path, both figuratively and literally. She did not appear to feel threatened. So, yes. She should be able to walk where she pleases. She should also be allowed to gloat. She won. But, both decisions have consequences. Provocation brings its own reactions. And she was provoking the crowd. Very passive aggressive.

  6. I just read this line in comments at another blog:

    Provocation is perceived by the viewer within the lens of their own world views.

    Explains a lot.

  7. AreaWoman

    That victory lap is emblematic of so-called “representatives” who have long forgotten that they are supposed to serve the interests of all their constituents, not just their party.

  8. Censored bybvbl

    Maybe it’s time to bring out the argument that our politics are somewhat genetically determined. Then what? We may follow what the other side believes to be a rational argument anfd then reject it. Perhaps our civility and desire to follow the Constitution are all we have in common.

  9. Areawoman, welcome to ‘howlings. I expect it was a victory lap.

    Have representatives ever felt an obligation to take care of those not of their party or not padding their pockets at election time? I don’t know.

    What you just expressed is how I felt when I heard 6 of our supervisors vote to send the AG a letter thanking him for suing the USA over the constitutionality of the health care bill. I felt it was a partisan move that was outside of their purview as local government.

    I also felt that way when the GA was in session.

    So while we probably aren’t speaking of the same thing, I agree with you in principle.

    And on the other hand, how does a politician sort it out? Half the people want one thing and half the people want the opposite? I don’t have answers. Just questions.

    In the case of the BOCS, there is an easy answer. Compliment him under their own letter head, not that of the county. Who cares what they do as private citizens, well, within reason.

  10. @Cargo who said

    “Provocation is perceived by the viewer within the lens of their own world views.

    Very true. It is probably also why I felt that Glenn Beck left the impression that Pelosi’s remarks were more recent. I think he is an idiot and I could easily claim to not be a big Pelosi fan also. degrees. I dislike him a lot more than I do her. That’s just what I walked away with…both times I watched that show.

    Actually, what she was talking about…violence in SF refers to the murder of Harvey Milk and Mayor Mascone. I thought she appeared silly in her speech because she should have elaborated who she was talking about. I knew but only because I had just watched MILK.

    Had Dianne Feinstein said the same thing, I would have all the sympathy in the world. At the time of the murders, she was the chairman of the board of supervisors or perhaps they were city council. She is who found Harvey Milk right after he was shot.

  11. @Censored bybvbl

    Censored, good sub-topic. Will you give us some background on that study? I read quickly but didn’t study the article you sent me.

  12. Wolverine

    It seems to me that there is a very fine and delicate line between the normal enthusiasm of celebrating victory and rubbing it in with regard to the defeated opponent. We have seen an attempt to eliminate the latter in the sport of football by penalizing overenthusiastic celebrations in the end zone after a touchdown is scored. I can recall the era before such discipline was imposed, when those excessive celebrations were absolutely infuriating to the losing team and their fans. Good sportsmanship seemed to be going out the window. I’ve always liked the reaction of former Redskins star John Riggens to the excesses of that era: “When you get into the end zone, act like you have been there before.”

    I don’t really want to dwell on a debate as to whether Pelosi’s choice of route was “in your face” or not. I cannot read her mind. But I must say that there multiple ways to get into the Capitol building; and if another route was chosen, I do not think that accusations of ducking the demonstrators would have come very much into play. I think that most would have thought that to be a rather normal security precaution. I just think that the route decisions which were made were just not very well thought out in terms of the divisiveness of the issue at hand. Pelosi knew she had victory in hand when she made that walk. I was not even there in the crowd, and I felt like the other team was celebrating a bit too much as they were headed toward the end zone. Whatever was behind it, that “victory” walk just served to make the heat much hotter. I don’t think any of us needed that.

  13. I can certainly understand your point of view. I like the Riggins quote. I have very very mixed emotions about the legislation. I have mixed emotions about the how as much as the what.

  14. Censored bybvbl

    M-h, I’ll link the two articles. I think the second – longer- article is the better written. I think the main study referenced is available for a fee.

    I’m just home for a short time and then I have to leave. Tomorrow will be more of the same.

  15. Starryflights

    Oh, those tea party people are just whining cuz they lost. Grow up, people.

  16. AreaWoman

    Not everyone who opposes this bill is a member of the Tea Party, Starryflights. People have very legitimate concerns about costs, fairness and Constitutionality of the bill’s provisions.

  17. Area, Starry likes to get a reaction.

  18. LOOK! A squirrel. AreaWoman, watch out for the squirrels around here. They run around and bother people.

    I think that one of the things that enrages many people is how partisan the president acts, especially when speaking to his supporters in speeches that are limited/restricted in attendance.

    He is very condescending and snarky. I have never seen ANY president insult the American people, even when they disagree with him. Bush was attacked for 8 years and he never attacked the people doing it. Heck he barely bothered to defend himself. Clinton defended himself but he was pretty classy at not attacking the public that could not stand him. I say that as a person that could not stand him. Go back, can you think of any president that is as insulting to the American people, ON CAMERA NO LESS, than Obama.

  19. Oh, and the Left won. Why are they whiny and angry?

  20. Cargo, I think that you hang out with like-,minded people and perhaps don’t realize that lots of people still love Bill Clinton. I even know people who I wouldn’t expect to like Clinton who do.

    There are a whole bunch of people out there who don’t dislike Obama. I am not saying people like him like they like Clinton but he does have a fan club. I don’t dislike him. He isn’t Bill Clinton. But I don’t dislike him. I don’t like all his decisions and he may do something to bring out my dislike. So far, he hasn’t done that. I am pretty neutral actually, which is usually about as good as it gets.

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