Pelosi: Who Cares About Being Liked?

What Women Really Think
July 27 2009 9:25 AM

Pelosi: Who Cares About Being Liked?

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I've never felt particular kinship for Nancy Pelosi. She has the shellacked visage of a long-time politician, and she has said enough tone-deaf things over the years to make me wince over the San Francisco liberal stereotype. But I like Pelosi better for her l aughing statement to Politico that she doesn't actually care about being liked. Pelosi made a distinction between being the object of voters' affection, and being trusted. From Glenn Thrush's story this morning:

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"I don’t know about 'trust’-I think I’m trusted," she said. "I certainly want to be trusted. I’m not particularly concerned if I’m liked."

Hard-bitten, no-nonsense, just get the job done, insert your political cliche here. Maybe Pelosi even calculated that saying she doesn't care about being liked will make people like her more. But that doesn't spoil it for me. In this moment when the Speaker of the House is vowing anew to wring a healthcare deal from Congress, and will undoubtedly add to her list of enemies in the process, I'm glad she's showing no qualms about the consequences of acting ruthless. In her piece for Double X about why corporate women become whistleblowers , Moe Tkacik writes that "women managers have displayed a peculiar knack for looking out for the long-term." If we're lucky, Pelosi is operating on a similar instinct.

Photograph of Nancy Pelosi by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images.

 

Emily Bazelon is a Slate senior editor and the Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School. She is the author of Sticks and Stones.