On Saturday evening, I was at Brabo enjoying a cocktail, preparing to take a seat with friends and have dinner. As we sat in the small bar, in walked U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), accompanied by her security detail.
Now, before I go further, I am not about to take issue with an elected official and national political figure going out for dinner and enjoying a Saturday evening. However, it did strike me as odd, given the timing. I did tweet about the encounter, and noted at the time that while the country faces a “supposed financial Armageddon”, Pelosi is dining at a fairly upscale restaurant, rather than working to solve the potential crisis.
Pelosi wasn’t hashing out an agreement over dinner with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), or even strategizing with one of her colleagues from her own party.
While Pelosi dined, so did two of her security detail (I can’t say for certain, but I imagine the tab for the security detail was passed along to the taxpayers). And while Nancy and two from her security detail dined, two others sat outside in a Suburban, engine idling. Just up from them was an Escalade, also part of Nancy’s entourage. That too sat with its engine idling, although apparently unattended for about 2 1/2 hours.
So it struck me as strange that while the debt ceiling crisis moves full-speed ahead towards the August 2nd deadline, Pelosi was dining with some folks while her taxpayer-funded security detail sat in taxpayer-funded gas-guzzling SUVs and two others dined on the taxpayer dime.
I actually had no real intention of doing anything more with Saturday night’s events beyond my original tweets. Like I said, whether its Pelosi, Boehner, the President; folks have a right to go out and enjoy themselves, and in this day-and-age, many political leaders do indeed need a security detail. However, I saw this report that the very next morning, Pelosi was off to Connecticut for a political fundraiser.
“Taking a ‘time out’ from attacking the debt ceiling crisis, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi flew to Connecticut Sunday for a private political fundraiser for friend and fellow Democrat, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro.” (Abbe Smith, “Pelosi Comes To Connecticut For DeLauro Fundraiser,” The Middletown Press, 7/25/11)
“The fundraiser took place at an East Haven banquet facility, Il Salice, which sits about a quarter-mile from Tweed New Haven Regional Airport. Pelosi was whisked to and from the event in a black SUV with D.C. plates and there was a heavy security presence outside the facility for the 90-minute event.” (Abbe Smith, “Pelosi Comes To Connecticut For DeLauro Fundraiser,” The Middletown Press, 7/25/11)
I realize that Pelosi’s power has diminished being in the Minority, but she is still a formidable figure in the political backroom deals taking place to solve the debt ceiling crisis. Given that, with only a handful of days to get a deal in place, hold votes in the House and Senate, and for the President to sign (or veto), the events over the weekend show how unserious Pelosi really is about cutting government waste, reducing the deficit and putting the country back on sound economic footing.