Pelosi on the Daily Show: Don't Blame the Democrats - the Republicans Made Us Do It
Pelosi: "The Congress of the United States has always been an institution that has been mockable."
Translation: Don't blame the Democrats in control of Congress for Congress sucking! Congress has always sucked!
Stewart: "You guys came in with a head of steam. You said no blank check for the war, we're gonna check this President's unchecked power. Do you feel like that has been accomplished?"
Pelosi: "Well in the House of Representatives, we have sent that bill over and over again to the Senate with it hitting a brick wall over there. But I do feel good about the things we have done other than that. But in terms of Congress' performance on the war, I'm with the public on that. I'm disappointed."
Stewart: "So on the war, you think Congress has dropped the ball."
Pelosi: "Not the House of Representatives. In the House we have sent a timeline, a goal, whatever we thought they could accept, pass, and send to the President."
Stewart: "Why can't the House of Representatives put a little bit of pressure on the Senate? In the hierarchy of balance of power, are you the little sibling?"
Pelosi: "No. The Speaker has awesome power, for our House. But it's a bicameral legislature, and in the Senate, a simple majority doesn't matter. 60 votes are not..."
Stewart: "But we had Harry Reid over here. Senator Harry Reid came on the program and sat across from me. Can I tell you something, it was crazy. Six minute interview, he was asleep for four of the minutes. He left, and I just kept asking questions to the chair."
Pelosi: "It's a tough job. It's a tough job."
Stewart: "I've never seen anything like it. Was he, is he... is he just sad, or what happened? Can't you put more pressure on him more publicly, are there ways...?"
Pelosi: "No, it's not him, it's the sixty, you need sixty votes. So he gets the Democratic votes, and that is a majority. But you still need nine more votes. That is why this election is so important. I mean, the, the idea, we, we have been able to accomplish a lot, we passed our energy bill, the minimum wage first time in ten years..."
Stewart: "Couldn't you take stronger uh, in terms of the war, why not just withhold funding? That could be done."
Pelosi: "Well we did that, we did that this last time, and we sent the bill over with no funding, and conditions for how we would stay there. The bill came back from the Senate with the funding, and no conditions on how we stay there. We need..."
Stewart: "So then you guys would say..."
Pelosi: "We need a new President. That is what we..."
Stewart: "...couldn't you say at that point..."
Stewart: "We do need a new president, I would say that. Let me ask you this..."
Pelosi: "Our election in 86, we thought the President would listen to the will of the American people. It was very clear they wanted an end to the war."
Stewart: "Wait, wait, which election? 2006?"
Pelosi: "2006. Now, that was step one. 2008 we get a Democratic President, we bring the war to an end, and return to a position of leadership in the world."
Stewart: "Is Congress as it is made up today, obsolete? Is, is, with a powerful President, is Congress a sort of a vestigial, unless it has 60 votes in the Senate, and a huge majority in the House of Representatives?"
Pelosi: "Fair question."
Pelosi: "Because the fact is the Republicans in Congress vote so much as a rubber stamp with the President that they are abdicating the role of Article I, we are the first Article of the Constitution, the Congress of the United States. But if you say, I'm just going to vote with the President, stick with the President every time, then he has power that he should not have."
Stewart: "Will you exercise that type, lets say Barack Obama is fortunate enough to win the presidency."
Pelosi: "Lets say that! Lets say that!"
Stewart: "Or, or - I don't want to play favorites here - or Hillary Clinton. Lets say that either one of them is fortunate enough to do that. Are you saying that the Democrats will exercise more and more stringent oversight over a Democratic President than the Republican Congress did over President Bush?"
Pelosi: "The same thing, the point is that"
Stewart: "You know, rubber stamp"
Pelosi: "No rubber stamp. And in terms of the, in terms of the, for example, domestic surveillance. No President, Democrat or Republican, should have the power that this President [unintelligible]. So it isn't, and the Congress of the United States has to assert its prerogatives, and this Republican Congress has been a rubber stamp for so long, but that will change."
This has been really educational for me. I have learned a lot of new things about how our government works.
Before I watched this video, I was sort of angry at the Democrats for giving Bush a blank check for war, and immunizing everyone he told to break laws banning things like torture and warrantless domestic spying.
Now I understand that I shouldn't blame them, it isn't their fault. It is all the Republicans fault.
No president should have unchecked domestic surveillance powers. Congress has to assert itself, and prevent the President from assuming such sweeping authority and instigating a massive, domestic spying program. Congress hasn't done that because it is a rubber stamp for the President. See, in Congress, having a majority gives you a tremendous amount of power.
The Republicans in Congress have been using this awesome power to pass special, unprecedented laws for the President, his Administration, and his corporate cohorts like AT&T, Halliburton, and Blackwater; to retroactively immunize them for ever breaking laws banning war crimes, torture, and spying. They also have used their power to allow the executive to commit perjury unchallenged, and to ignore Congressional subpoenas without consequences. But that will change when we can finally elect a Democratic Congress.
Oh, wait; I forgot that there was a massive wave election in 2006 that swept Democrats into the majority in both the House and the Senate for the first time in 12 years. So those laws covering up the domestic spying scandal and funding the war must've been passed by the Republican Congress prior to January 2007.
Oh, wait: That is actually not accurate. As it turns out, it was actually a Democratic Congress that passed those laws, and that has been President Bush's rubber stamp for the last year and a half. But you shouldn't be mad at the Democrats, because even though they have a majority, a majority doesn't matter. In the Senate, there is a special rule that says only 50 votes are needed to pass a law when the Republicans are in the majority, but when the Democrats are in the majority, 60 votes are needed to pass all laws. Additionally, Republicans in the Senate still have the power to have the last say on what bills come to the floor for a vote and what they contain, as long as there aren't at least 60 Democrats. This explains how the 49 Republicans in the Senate took a bill that had no war funding and had a mandate to end the war, and turn it into a blank check for more war with no mandated timetable to end it. Also, when the Senate changes a bill, the House has no choice but to accept whatever the Senate decides to pass.
Oh, wait: actually, only the House of Representatives has the authority to initiate funding bills. So there is no way that 49 Republicans in the Senate could have initiated the bill to give Bush a blank check for war. The bill actually was first passed by the House of Representatives, where the Democrats have 236 members and the Republicans only have 199. But there is a special rule somewhere that says that the House of Representatives has to pass whatever bills the President wants them to, no matter who has a majority. So, the reason that they passed unconditional war funding bill and a bill retroactively immunizing people who broke our laws was because Bush is President and he made them do it.
This will all change when we elect a Democratic President.