Thank You, Madam Speaker

For these children, our children and for all of America's children, the House will come to order.
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi. January 4, 2007
First, I want to say something.  Mea culpa.  I thought Democrats would hold on to the House last night.  We lost badly instead.  Why and why not, I will have more to say about that later.  But suffice it to say that I will try not to second guess political number crunchers again.  I will have something to say about where I think some of the blame might lie, however.

But this post is about one hero, one woman, one amazing leader who presided over the most productive Congress in history.  This one is for the lioness who took on the big fights head on, even when it ultimately put her career on the line.  She did big things and she suffered the short-term political consequences of the backlash after a big reform agenda.  She lead the Democrats to victory in 2006, but that is the least of her accomplishments.  This moment did not go to waste.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not just make history as the first woman Speaker of the House, or the first San Franciscan to hold the Speaker's gavel ever.  She made history by delivering big idea items like health reform, raising the minimum wage, vastly expanding children's health insurance, Wall Street reform, student loan reform, pay equity for women, hate crimes legislation, a progressive economic recovery package, and so on.  And that is just the stuff that became law.  Under Speaker Pelosi, the House passed ambitious pieces of legislation designed to accelerate the Obama recovery, which the Senate's gridlock could not deliver on.

I don't much care what the political prognosticators say now about Speaker Pelosi.  History will remember her as the Speaker who bit the bullet and did the right thing even when it wasn't popular.  History will vindicate her as the Speaker who used power to do something other than to just hold on to power.  History will record the fights she fought on behalf of working Americans, on behalf of children, on behalf of all of us.  And history will show that though she was Speaker for only four years, her grace, her courage, and her prowess forever changed the face of American politics, and American women.  Changed it for the better.  We are a better country for having had had the privilege of her leadership.

So let me say simply one thing.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Thank you for believing in the American people even when we didn't believe in ourselves.  Thank you for standing up for all of us.  Thank you for your selfless leadership.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  Thank you for making history.  Thank you for your service to America and to America's children.  Thank you, Madam Speaker.

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