The Magazine

Pelosi's Favorite Stalinist

Return of the San Francisco Democrats.

Jun 25, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 39 • By JOSHUA MURAVCHIK
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Here is what she said: "Harry Bridges [was] arguably the most significant labor leader of the twentieth century," who was "beloved by the workers of this Nation, and recognized as one of the most important labor leaders in the world." She added: "The International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union [was] the most progressive union of the time." In other words, this Communist-run union was more admirable than all of the anti-Communist unions.

Pelosi delivered this encomium a full nine years after Bridges's membership in the CP Central Committee had been revealed. Nor was this just a single moment. As recently as this February she visited ILWU headquarters to deliver this homage: "It is very special to me, any occasion that I can come to the ILWU hall and acknowledge the leadership of this great union. . . ." This was not just an infatuation with one man. In addition to her tribute to Bridges, she delivered a similar encomium to another prominent Bay Area Stalin fan, Vivian Hallinan, whose husband was Bridges's lawyer and the 1952 candidate for president of the Communist-front Progressive party. "Vivian," she enthused, "was devoted intellectually and passionately to many causes, well before they became popularly embraced."

This is not to say that Pelosi is a Communist--who is these days?--or that she ever was. But about her adoration of the Stalin-worshiping Bridges there is no doubt. It is no less egregious than Senator Trent Lott's apparent endorsement of Strom Thurmond's racist past, which cost Lott the Senate leadership, the difference being that Thurmond had long since renounced racism, while Bridges never renounced communism.

As she leads the Democratic campaign to withdraw from Iraq and sallies off to meet the likes of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, we should know Pelosi's wretched record in judging who are history's good guys and who are its bad. And we should be mindful that some of what she knows about political values was learned at the feet of people who believed fervently that the great enemy of mankind was none other than America itself.

Joshua Muravchik is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.