- The Washington Times - Monday, November 18, 2002

The Democratic caucus last week overwhelmingly elected Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House minority leader. Having represented most of San Francisco for 16 years, Mrs. Pelosi can lay legitimate claim to being a bona fide "San Francisco Democrat" the term Jeanne Kirkpatrick coined in her 1984 keynote address at the Republican National Convention to describe the most liberal faction of the Democratic Party.
As the accompanying scorecard proves, Mrs. Pelosi has compiled quite a liberal voting record over the years. She has earned very high marks from liberal organizations (Americans for Democratic Action, the AFL-CIO and the American Civil Liberties Union) and very low scores from conservative groups (the American Conservative Union, the National Tax-Limitation Committee and the Christian Coalition). Behind these high and low scores are real votes.
Mrs. Pelosi, who arrived in the House by way of a special election in June 1987, cast the first of her several votes against welfare reform in December of that same year. She opposed the historic welfare-reform legislation that President Clinton finally signed in 1996, and opposed its reauthorization earlier this year.
Few members of the House over the years have been as zealous in their pursuit of unlimited abortion rights as Mrs. Pelosi, a Roman Catholic who has steadfastly supported partial-birth abortion. While Mrs. Pelosi has shown no concern for the life of the innocent unborn, she has repeatedly voted to protect the lives of convicted murderers sentenced to death. Meanwhile, she has consistently voted to increase gun control, thus limiting the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves from the predators whose lives she has fought so hard to protect.
In 1998, Mrs. Pelosi opposed a constitutional amendment to allow school prayer in the classroom. In 1999, she opposed permitting state and local governments to display the Ten Commandments on public property, including schools. However, in 1991, in the wake of an artist using taxpayer funds to submerge a crucifix in urine, Mrs. Pelosi voted against barring the National Endowment for the Arts from funding projects that offensively depicted excretory matter.
The new House minority leader has opposed the expansion of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) that would permit spending on elementary and secondary education. And she has voted against experimental voucher programs.
On the economic front, Mrs. Pelosi has repeatedly voted in favor of raising taxes and against lowering them. She has consistently opposed a balanced-budget constitutional amendment, and she voted against the line-item veto. In 1997, she voted against the compromise seven-year plan to balance the budget and provide significant middle-class tax relief, including the $500-per-child tax credit. Mrs. Pelosi did vote for the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1993 and the World Trade Organization in 1994, but she opposed granting the president fast-track trade-negotiating authority in 1998 and this past summer.
On foreign-policy matters, Mrs. Pelosi has been among the leading doves in Congress. She opposed the Gulf War in 1991, and she voted against the recent resolution authorizing the use of force to remove weapons of mass destruction from Iraq.
Few legislators have been as tough on the Chinese in terms of human-rights violations as Mrs. Pelosi. However, she has viewed other communist regimes and rebel groups far more benevolently. In 1988, she opposed providing the Nicaraguan Contras a paltry $36 million to help finance their battles with the Marxist Sandinista regime on the American mainland. In 1990, she voted to suspend military aid to the anti-communist government of El Salvador and to suspend American aid to the anti-communist rebel forces in communist-controlled Angola. Repeatedly, she has voted against strengthening the trade embargo against Cuba. In 1998, she voted to eliminate funding for TV Marti broadcasts to Cuba.
Mrs. Pelosi has repeatedly voted to reduce funding for anti-ballistic-missile (ABM) research, and she has opposed ABM deployment. She voted against the B-2 bomber. In 1988, more than three-and-a-half years before the Soviet Union imploded, she voted to ban nuclear testing of weapons exceeding one kiloton.
Across the issue spectrum, Mrs. Pelosi has proudly become one of the most liberal members of the left-of-center caucus that she has just been elected to lead.


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