Connections: The Campaign Trail

If you’ve seen Ms. Pelosi on television, you know she is a polished and agile speaker

   Nancy Pelosi was on the South Fork last weekend, although hardly anyone noticed amid all the excitement about Mitt Romney’s fund-raisers hereabouts. Ms. Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader of the House of Representatives, was here to promote the re-election of Tim Bishop, who is running for a fifth term as the representative from New York’s First Congressional District.
    If you’ve seen Ms. Pelosi on television, you know she is a polished and agile speaker. On this occasion, she praised Mr. Bishop’s leadership and mentioned bills on which he had offered “pragmatic and sustained” help. She warned of a national Republican victory and said Democrats were being outspent. A Democratic Congress next year, she said, would make public financing of campaigns a priority, second only to a new jobs bill.
    “We need to amend the Constitution to get rid of Citizens United,” she said, referring to the Supreme Court decision that gave meteoric rise to super-PAC funding of national campaigns. “We need to elect reformers. I don’t even care if they are Republicans, as long as they want to protect democracy.”
    In shorter remarks, Mr. Bishop reported that Karl Rove’s PAC, American Crossroads, had put thousands of dollars into the 2012 campaign by starting to run ads against him only four days after his election to Congress was confirmed in 2010. (He won by 593 votes.)
    Representative Nita Lowey, the Westchester congresswoman, joined Mr. Bishop in saying a few words. They agreed that his campaign needed enough money to offset the funds going to his opponent, Randy Altschuler, although, they said Mr. Altschuler’s war chest could not be matched. For Mr. Bishop, the election is about “what kind of a country we are going to remain.” Observing that he was Catholic, he said the bishops had spoken out against the Republican Party’s stance on the federal budget, saying there is an “obligation to care for the weak among us.”
    Disparaging the Republican belief that people would pull themselves up and out of poverty once government assistance were withdrawn, he asked how an infirm 86-year-old in a nursing home could do so. “Sixty percent of Medicaid money goes to support people in nursing homes,” he said. “Reasonable people must reject” that G.O.P. vision, he said.
    Ms. Pelosi touched on other campaign issues, as well. She agreed that the Affordable Health Care Act had not been put before the people effectively. The Supreme Court had given Demo­crats “a second chance” to do so, she said, as she vowed to “tell the White House to take advantage of it.”
    If you happened to wander down Egypt Lane on Sunday when one of two quiet events that day for Mr. Bishop was taking place here, you might have noticed a state trooper in a parked car and heard his dog bark. Closer to the house where the event, an ice cream social, was taking place, a handful of security personnel were at the ready. I wasn’t surprised that Ms. Pelosi is protected. I couldn’t help but remember the awful vitriol directed at her when she was speaker of the House (and, by the way, second only to the vice president in the line of presidential succession).
    The sun was still up and many of the toppings for ice cream sundaes still in bowls when the official group moved on to Sag Harbor to make another pitch.