Friday, June 30, 2017

So Who Takes Over After Pelosi-- Hopefully, No One Being Talked About Inside The Beltway


As we've discussed before, the alternatives to Pelosi as House Democratic leader are dismal-- or worse than dismal. David Hawkings floated a prototypical "fake news" story for Roll Call yesterday, Six Who Could Succeed Pelosi-- Someday. The list is ghastly-- a warning to anyone with a bit of sense, kind of reminiscent of Louis XV's warning to restive Frenchmen after the catastrophic Battle of Rossbach in 1757, when he is said to have said, "Après moi, le déluge."

In theory, if Pelosi were to step down, her successor-- which is keeping her from retiring-- would be Steny Hoyer, the man from K Street. Pelosi turned 77 in March. Hoyer turned 78 two weeks ago. The third in command, at least in theory, is Jim Clyburn who will be 77 in 3 weeks. So who's the next generation? And how soon will this have to be dealt with? Hawkings assures us that the post-special election "burst of frustration and pique vented" by House Dems towards Pelosi "appears to have fizzled." Politico's Kyle Cheney agreed and endeavored to explain why Pelosi isn't going anywhere. "How quickly the chatter turns into any concrete campaigning," wrote Hawkings, "is open to conjecture. Probably, it is not at all imminent." Cheney wrote that "House Democrats are acknowledging there’s virtually no chance she’s going anywhere before the 2018 congressional elections-- more than 16 months away-- despite a sense of unrest and scattered calls for Pelosi’s resignation as Democratic leader."

What many people miss in this approaching end of an era is, as Hawkings put it, many of those most eager to push her out are "identifying her polarizing liberalism as central to their dispiriting special election losses in Georgia and elsewhere." Key words: "her liberalism."
A roster of half a dozen potential successors emerged during conversations in the last week with a demographically diverse score of House Democrats, or more than 10 percent of them, as well as with a smattering of former members and political consultants. But in all those interviews, conducted with the promise of anonymity, only the names of six lawmakers were volunteered at least three times.

“We have a very short bench, and anyone who says to the contrary is not being candid,” offered Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri.

And all of the lawmakers were described in the context of identifying the next generation of leaders who would step up if Pelosi steps aside-- with none of them labeled as someone currently capable of toppling her from the perch she’s held for 14 years and five months.

Five are currently on the Pelosi leadership team: Democratic Caucus Chairman Joseph Crowley of New York, his deputy Linda T. Sánchez of California, House campaign organization chairman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico and two members tapped by Pelosi last fall to reshape party messaging, Hakeem Jeffries of New York and Cheri Bustos of Illinois. The outlier and sole dissident is Tim Ryan of Ohio, who got one-third of his colleagues to vote for his snap challenge to Pelosi last fall.

Last week’s soft launch of the coup plotters’ quest was underscored by Pelosi’s defiant, almost taunting retort to the critics. “When it comes to personal ambition and having fun on TV, have your fun,” she said. “My decision about how long I stay is not up to them.”

Instead, she told reporters, her reputation as both “a master legislator” and a fundraising juggernaut make her “very confident” she’ll have continuing support from a vast majority of the 194 members of the Democratic Caucus-- even as another election cycle begins in which she’ll be the target of derision in hundreds of millions of dollars in attack ads against other Democratic candidates. “I think I'm worth the trouble, quite frankly,” she said.

Given her proven ability to count votes, the safe bet is she’s not bluffing at the moment. It’s also not readily apparent what other political or legislative events on the horizon could prompt a new and deeper groundswell among her colleagues to move her out-- especially in advance of the next leadership election, which will be held a few weeks after the 2018 midterms.

No Democratic leader has been deposed in the middle of a term since the modern House leadership structure was created at the start of the 20th century, and it’s not clear how a vote of no confidence in her caucus might be called.

So, when Pelosi leaves the top job, the odds are strong it will be on her own terms-- resigning as leader effective at the end of a Congress, most likely in conjunction with her retirement as the congresswoman for San Francisco. (She won her House seat in a special election 30 years ago this month and has until March, just before her 78th birthday, to decide whether to cruise into a 16th full term.)

...The lawmaker who posed the biggest potential threat for decades was Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland-- a rival during a summer Hill internship they shared in the 1960s, and four decades later, the vanquished opponent in the whip’s race that launched her leadership career. But since 2003, when he became her No. 2 in the House hierarchy, it’s become increasingly clear Hoyer was only preparing to move up to No. 1 as her successor, not as an insurrectionist. And now, having turned 78 this month, even his biggest House Democratic fans say his time has passed, and that an orderly succession will surely bring an emphatic statement about turning to new blood from a younger generation.

Of the names that surfaced last week, four are in their 40s and the others are in their 50s. Three have been in office less than a decade and three for the better part of two decades.

Two are women, two are Hispanic, one is African-American and two are Anglo men-- a diversity reflecting the fact that, since 2015, those who exercised hegemonic control over the Capitol for two centuries have slipped into plurality, but no longer majority, status among House Democrats.

Hawkings doesn't mention that one is a closeted gay person. Nobody's talkin'-- since in 2017 only Republicans are closeted, I guess. And then he listed "the current crop of leading possibilities," starting with Cheri Bustos (IL), who he doesn't mention is a virulent, toxic Blue Dog on the far right fringe of the party and a protégée of Rahm Emanuel's. Nor does he mention that very few members take her seriously and that are chances of becoming leader, according to one member I spoke to today are about the same as "any random member becoming leader." She likes to push the fact that Trump won her district and she was still reelected. She doesn't point out that her "opponent" was a vanity candidate, Patrick Harlan, who didn't even spend the $5,000 it would have taken to trigger an FEC report, while she spent $2,103,465 on the race. Her point is that she's so brilliant and her brand of reactionary politics works in a Trump district. Well... one of the most outspoken progressives in Congress, a polar opposite of the wretched Bustos, is Matt Cartwright and he was reelected as well, despite Trump winning his district. Cartwright would make a far better leader of the House Dems on conceivable every level.

Next up on his list-- this was alphabetical-- was the probably Pelosi successor, Queens County machine boss, Wall Street whore, New Dem chieftain, Joe Crowley, who's never fought an election and who was saved by Pelosi from being reprimanded by the Ethics Committee for bribery. If-- as is likely-- he takes over, it will be mean the House Democratic Party has sunk to its lowest level in history. And he will. He's buying loyalty from members who vote almost entirely based on who pays them off. Nice.

Hakeem Jeffries has as much chance of becoming leader as Bustos but they had to include an African-American and... hey, why not Hakeem? AT least-- kind of like Pelosi-- he has a progressive voting record.

Ben Ray Luján? This has to be a joke...but he's on the list. What would his campaign slogan be? "I'll do for the caucus what I did for the DCCC?"

Tim Ryan, not as conservative as Bustos... but conservative enough to make the Democratic Party suck a lot more than it already does.

Linda Sánchez is basically progressive... but not a leader. I'm told she sits on the floor of Congress and plays video games. At least her ProgressivePunch score is an A, like Jeffries. These are their ProgressivePunch lifetime crucial vote scores:
Linda Sánchez- 95.42 (A)
Hakeem Jeffries- 93.02 (A)
Joe Crowley- 85.26 (C)
Ben Ray Luján- 80.04 (D)
Tim Ryan- 77.92 (D)
Cheri Bustos- 47.90 (F)
At least Wasserman Schultz is-- at least for now-- disgraced and out of the running. She's try to claw-- and bribe-- her way back; count on that. Suggestions for how the make the House Democratic Party vibrant, effective, meaningful and inspiring:

Pramila Jayapal (D-WA)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Ted Lieu (D-CA)
Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Judy Chu (D-CA)
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Keith Ellison (D-MN)
Jamie Raskin (D-MD)

In another year or two we'll be able to add Ro Khanna to the list. And Randy Bryce.



At 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Instead of objecting to the bona-fides of some on your list, and the two mythical additions, I'll just point out the obvious bwo a question:
When was the last time a house D leader was elected who did not have tenure?

If it looks like the Ds might win back the house (and I mean legitimately, not based on faith that the gods will smile on election day and shocking D upsets will abound), Pelosi will run, win and be re-elected the leader... so that she can take the gavel again... and the corporate spigots will shower her with bribery and be rewarded... again... "liberal"? horseshit!! Most corrupt human being in congress.

If it looks like the Democraps will get drubbed (better than average odds considering the slate of total losers she and her minions are dredging up) again, she may retire and leave the Ds' last rites up to whoever is next.

So, DWT, yet again, another piece validating, proving my thesis. The democraps need to die before any progress can possibly be made.
DWT, it's like you are on the cliff's edge but refuse to look down to see just how far it is to the bottom (you can hear the echoes and the birds far below) -- believing that if you keep throwing handfuls of dirt into the abyss, soon you can walk across.

At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if Pelosi stays or goes. There remain too many bad apples in the barrel to expect that only removing one will do any good.

At 4:49 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Yes, fingers crossed for Bryce! Sure hope he ousts Ryan!

At 6:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Hone, it would be nice if voters finally told that evil motherfucker to go fuck himself... but they won't. It's fucking Wisconsin where walker and ryan are preferred over Feingold.

But ryan isn't the head of that snake. That's a Medusa at this point. You'd need to cut the heads off (literally OR figuratively) of several hundred different snakes at the same time to even get to the JV evil motherfuckers.

Getting rid of any one won't help. You have to "fix" 62 million terminally evil motherfuckers, which only Mao and Pol Pot even tried. Those they elect are just an extension... a symptom.

And, you must remember that the democraps haven't been able to beat ANYONE (except Bernie, which took fraud) since the drumpfsterfire declared 2 years ago.

At 6:21 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Let's vote this guy in.

At 7:19 AM, Blogger BroD said...

I say Elijah Cummings--who has the distinction of being my congressman.


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