It’s true that Gail Collins laid a very sloppy kiss on Nancy Pelosi, but I can’t say it wasn’t well deserved. Pelosi seems to be able to work her will on the House of Representatives and get her priorities passed. She’s powerful and effective, and she’s the only Democratic leader who begins from a progressive place and aims high. What would be interesting is if someone were to do a kind of project on what Obama would have accomplished so far if he were able to sign Pelosi’s legislation into law without first melding it with whatever the Senate has produced (or refused to produce). It wouldn’t be the easiest project because the House already waters down their product in anticipation of having to negotiate with the Senate. Freed from that requirement, chairmen like Conyers, Waxman, Miller, and Frank would have provided truly stunning progressive change. Every day in this country we pay the price of having an unrepresentative Senate governed by undemocratic rules. And it all, all of it, works against progressive change.

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