Today we were reminded of Jimmy Carter’s affinity for foreign anti-American thugs, this time in the form of Hamas. The modern Democrats seem less prone to this sort of pathology (or at least its outward manifestations), though Hillary Clinton did famously embrace Yasser Arafat’s wife.
But Nancy Pelosi, the highest ranking of all Democrats, shows clear symptoms of Carter’s disease. Exhibit A, of course, is the quality time she spent with Syria’s anti-American strongman Bashar al-Assad. Joshua Muravchik in the Weekly Standard provides us with Exhibit B — Pelosi’s admiration of Stalinist union boss Harry Bridges.
Bridges was the head of the San Francisco based International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU). At a time when organized labor in this country was passionately and heroically anti-Communist, Bridges was. . .a Communist. The AFL-CIO expelled the ILWU, and the Roosevelt and Truman administrations tried to deport Bridges (Bridges was Australian and had lied about his ties with the Communist Party when he entered the country). But Bridges survived all of this and, through the ILWU, controlled the docks of San Francisco for years.
Bridges was aptly named because, like a bridge, he was suspended by a cable — in his case a cable from Moscow. Thus, he opposed FDR’s 1940 election bid because Roosevelt was aligned with Britain in opposition to the Hitler-Stalin pact. But as soon as Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Bridges did the obligatory 180-degree turn.
Bridges always denied that he was a Communist. However, when the Soviet archives opened up, we learned that in addition to being a party member (which everyone knew), he had been member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party USA, and had been approved for this position by the Kremlin.
None of this seems to faze Speaker Pelosi, though. In 2001, nine years after the Kremlin’s records had conclusively established Bridges’ status, Pelosi had this to say about him:
Harry Bridges [was] arguably the most significant labor leader of the twentieth century. . .beloved by workers of this Nation, and recognized as one of the most important labor leaders in the world. The International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union [was] the most progressive union of the time.
More recently, according to Muravchik, Pelosi again paid tribute to Bridges. This time she threw in some kind words for another bay area Communist, Vivian Halliman.
What does this tell us about Peloisi? Not that she’s a Communist — as Muravchik notes, no one is these days. Rather, in Muravchik’s words, this is more evidence of Pelosi’s “wretched record in judging who are history’s good guys and who are its bad.” And it reminds us 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.”
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