Pelosi is right, Dems need to ‘move boldly into the future’

Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s decision to step away from her leadership role with Democrats in the U.S. House is an enormous opportunity for all Americans to reflect on the past, and plan for the future.

Pelosi, from San Francisco, has been a historic figure in American politics.


She was the first woman ever elected as speaker of the House, a position she assumed in 2007.

She deftly used her position to guide her caucus, and the country, through enormous challenges and changes over the past 15 years.

Thursday, she said she would keep her seat, but ask others to lead her party.

“We must move boldly into the future,” she said on the House floor, surrounded by members of both parties, some in tears. “A new day is dawning on the horizon.”

She stumbled once or twice — tearing up Donald Trump’s State of the Union address was a bit over the top — but in important ways her presence changed the country forever as she led her party both in and out of the majority.

The 2008 economic meltdown might have permanently cratered the economy had not Pelosi guided the Congress through a rescue debate.

She led the effort to enact the Affordable Care Act — telling President Barack Obama he must be bolder, if he expected the House Democrats to risk their majority by supporting the landmark legislation — and helped Democrats fight its repeal.

She worked tirelessly to protect women’s rights, and civil rights, and voting rights. She united the fractious wings of her party to enact COVID-19 relief proposals, infrastructure improvements and climate change reform.

For this, she was mercilessly caricatured by Republicans, in campaign after campaign. “Nancy Pelosi liberal” was a common campaign epithet.

She did not waver: not then, not when nihilists attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and not as an assailant attacked her husband with a hammer weeks ago. But she concluded Thursday that it was time to move on.

We congratulate Pelosi for her career, her courage — and her decision.

It’s a fact that much of the leadership in the nation has grown older. Time remains undefeated in sports, but it is hanging on in politics. Congressional leaders, and presidential candidates, are in their 70s and 80s.

Pelosi’s decision to step aside is a great opportunity to refresh the Democratic Party, and our politics, by enlisting younger officeholders for leadership positions. Younger voters are an important part of our electorate, and played a huge role in the midterm elections.

Young Americans are focused, involved, committed to a better society. We are better for it. Now is the time for fresh leadership, and new ideas.

We are not saying, nor do we believe, that Pelosi is too old to be in Congress, or that other leaders must forfeit their positions as they age. We do believe our nation wants and needs new approaches to old problems, and that young leaders can help direct that effort.

Today, we recognize Nancy Pelosi for her decades of exemplary service. She has made America better. She knows that better days are still ahead.

— The Kansas City Star Editorial Board

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