The woman leading Democrats in the House of Representatives told delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Thursday that electing Hillary R. Clinton the first female president of the United States means achieving the dreams and hopes and aspirations of every woman, every daughter, every son, and every family, all across our land, for generations to come.
“It is a privilege to stand before you as the Leader of the House Democrats – a caucus honored to serve with our partner Sen. Harry Reid and our friend Vice President Joe Biden,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.), who grew up in Baltimore and is the daughter and sister of mayors of that city. “A caucus honored to serve with one of the greatest Presidents in our history, President Barack Obama! Together we passed the Affordable Care Act, which would not have been possible without the courage of the House Democrats.”
House Democrats are diverse and welcoming, she said.
“What a contrast with the narrow and restricted club that met in convention in Cleveland last week. Our convention is different, and so is our mission,” she said. “We come to public service and to this convention not to trumpet darkness, but to light a way forward for our country.”
In keeping with the national security theme of the evening, the congresswoman name checked the terrorist army that rose up to fill the vacuum in Iraq created when U.S. forces retreated in 2011.
“Here is our commitment to the American people, for a stronger America. First, secure our nation with strong action to keep Americans safe, fighting terror at home and abroad, and eliminating ISIS. We must be strong and smart, not reckless and rash,” she said, using the common nickname for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, not President Barack Obama’s construct, ISIL, in which the “L” stands for “the Levant,” which is a word-device that suggests the center of the fertile crescent between Egypt and Persia is one contiguous swath that should be without an Israel. In the foreign policy community, whether someone says ISIS or ISIL has come to be a signal of one’s support or opposition to Obama’s policies in that region.
Given the rhetorical flak the Democrats were taking for not mentioning terrorism in the early days of the convention, it would be unfair to read too much into Pelosi’s choice of ISIS. Here at the convention, the Democrats have a workshop of writers churning out everyone’s speeches. Most likely, the writer who slipped “ISIS” into Pelosi’s speech was not savvy to its message-meaning.
In the heart of her address, the former Speaker of the House said Clinton was going to protect our safety by restricting our gun rights.
“At home, safer communities demand courage, not cowardice, in the face of the NRA. For the sake of the 91 Americans who are killed by gun violence each day, we must break the grip of the gun lobby on Congress,” she said.
Then, she signaled to Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R.-Wis.) that there is something they agree on: “If you’re on the no-fly list, then you belong on the no-buy list.”
Clinton will protect our future by goosing up government give-away programs, she said — programs such as student aid, mandated pay-for-time-off and an expansion of the federal government’s running of medical care.
Finally, Clinton was going to protect our Democracy by appointing justices to the Supreme Court who will overturn the Citizens United decision, which lifted restrictions on political broadcasts.
For Republicans, who dismiss the importance of the Supreme Court, or are willing to wait through four years of Clinton, so that their boss can have a better shot at the White House, Pelosi made clear that the Supreme Court is going to be a place with new Clinton appointees. Pelosi said:
We know what is on the line in what truly is the most important election of our lifetime. For the future of the Supreme Court, for the fate of a planet imperiled by climate change, for the sake of immigration reform, for the promise of an America that rewards hard work instead of those who exploit America’s workers, for women’s reproductive rights, equal rights, civil rights.
Then, for some reason, Pelosi’s writer slipped into her Supreme Court litany the words “to do what is right for our service members, veterans and military families who have given so much for our country.”
Apparently, the scribes were also ordered to shoehorn in references to our men and women in uniform. Obviously, there can be no discussion of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the private war its personnel have waged against veterans, so that was out of bounds. It would have been equally awkward to discuss how the VA, with the blessing of the GOP-controlled Congress, continues to suspend the gun rights of tens of thousands of veterans, who seek counseling and other services from the VA.
Thus, it was slipped into the Supreme Court section, after “reproductive rights,” which is, of course, the code word for abortion.
But there is no translation needed when Pelosi exhorted the delegates: “Onward to victory!”
Democrats are playing for keeps, peeps.