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Brinksmanship Misapplied

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It is absolutely ridiculous the amount of times that Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat and likely the next speaker of the House, has been allowed to challenge Donald Trump, the president of the United States, and his manhood and get away with it. And not just from her own party: The right has also been standing idly by while the left continues its unadulterated mockery of the office of the president of the United States.

Who does she think she is? Absolutely no one is above the norms and decency worthy of and expected in the office that she desperately seeks to hold. In the era of the #MeToo movement -- and with more women than ever elected to congress in the 2018 midterm elections -- it's embarrassing that little girls and young women have Pelosi to look up to. She should consider this when she reflects on her own behavior and the sort of example that she is setting for women and girls -- not only in our country, but the world over!

What kind of example is she setting by retreating to gutter politics, no matter what may have been said to provoke her? Would Pelosi have responded in that same way to a world leader? These questions must be asked because her new role, if she is elected speaker of the House, will require her to interact with male world leaders. If she doesn't get her way, will she also dismiss them in the same manner? We have no reason to believe that she would treat them any differently than she treats President Trump. And to call that unacceptable is an understatement!

America will not welcome a party that likes to pick fights with Trump. It goes without saying that he has a different kind of leadership style. But Pelosi needs to look in the mirror and think about the message her actions send. Those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

What else does she say beyond earshot? What thoughts does she harbor, and do they have the interests of the nation at heart? I am utterly amazed that minutes after Pelosi left a meeting with the president, she scurried to the corridors of her caucus to lambaste him in private. Talk of his masculinity with comments such as "It's like a manhood thing for him" are beneath her and any other public official. Pelosi must not forget that she is second in line to the highest office in the land. I urge her, and all members of Congress, to be more judicious in their rhetoric.

Would we ever tolerate statements of equal poison from a man? Just the thought that comments similar to Pelosi's had been against another woman -- and behind closed doors -- would cause the left to howl in opposition and outrage. Let us not forget: This is not the first time that she has questioned Trump's manhood. I understand, as does any well-informed American, that Pelosi and many in her party do not like this man. But he is still the president of the people.

The gall she has to privately -- and then publicly -- admit that she was proud to have goaded the president into a showdown is really classy. I cannot imagine a time or incident that would have caused Barbara Bush or Michelle Obama to behave in such an immature "schoolgirl" way and then snicker like they "got away" with it.

At some point, the Democrats must begin choosing leaders who are more concerned with governing a land of many viewpoints -- many of which are beyond their own narrow ones. Democrats need to set leaders (preferably under 80 years old) in place. Leaders who are more attuned with society's needs and what it means to disagree without being disagreeable. Leaders who can, at the very least, listen to another viewpoint, maturely, while not necessarily agreeing with it.

In fact, while we're on the subject, the president and this White House also need a better approach, going forward, in how they negotiate and push their agenda. Hauling in the leaders of the opposition to excoriate them in public is less than politically astute. It's a form of brinksmanship that is both wrong and wrongheaded.

Congress and the president have a real chance to prevent a government shutdown and to pass meaningful legislation in these final days of 2018. One good example: The onerous and awkward medical device tax is in the House GOP package. No one -- not even Chuck Schumer -- thinks that tax was a smart part of Obamacare. Unfortunately, it took the loss of 29,000 jobs to prove it.

The year 2019 does not look good if we're starting like this. The country could well be on a path toward a recession, and no one wants that. Serious geopolitical concerns hang in the balance. Everyone in Washington needs to elevate their game.

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