Saturday, May 05, 2018

Will The House Democrats Ever Free Themselves Of Their Geriatric Leadership And Move Into The Future?


Would the Democrats win more votes in November if Pelosi announced she was retiring? No one doubts it. Does she care? Nope; she's obsessed. I speak with candidates and members of Congress every day. Almost no one I speak with wants Pelosi leading the party-- including people who admire her. Yesterday, after Pelosi told the Boston Globe she intends to run for Speaker again, Dave Weigel and Paul Kane looked at the numbers for Washington Post readers. And it isn't just progressive candidates who oppose another term for Pelosi, Candidates from the Republican wing of the Democratic Party oppose her as well. Take Blue Dog (and DCCC recruit) Dan McCready of North Carolina. He's quoted by The Post saying "I’ve said since Day One that I wouldn’t vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker. I think we need a whole new generation of people in D.C. That’s part of why I’m running; we need some new blood." Yeah, yeah, but McCready is also saying he opposes Pelosi for political reasons. He doesn't want to see oceans of TV ads running constantly in Myers Park and Lionsgate in south Charlotte down through Matthews, Monroe, Wadeboro and along the border with South Carolina to Lumberton and north into Savoy Heights and Fayettesville, all equating him to Pelosi. "Democrats across the country," posits The Post, "are locked in an awkward dance in which candidates sensing a chance to win GOP-held seats are increasingly distancing themselves from the party’s longtime liberal leader from San Francisco-- at the same time that the 78-year-old congresswoman is boldly holding on to power." (Liberal? She once was, but that was quite some time ago, amigo. She long ago morphed into a centrist.)

They claim only 10 candidates have come out against her. I've counted more than double that just among people I talk to. Among the candidates endorsed by Blue America-- progressives-- I found little support for her, although several are unwilling to say so on the record. One of our best congressional candidates: "Off the record, I'll be frank and say I think we need new leadership, I'm just not sure who." Another great congressional candidate who asked for anonymity told me "Off the record, I do not want Nancy Pelosi anywhere near my campaign. Thanks, but no thanks. She is toxic." I don't know how she expects to get enough Democrats to elect her leader/Speaker.

Last November I reached out to several campaigns to ask candidates and campaign managers what they plan do about the threat from the NRCC to portray them as Pelosi clones. One of the best campaign managers in the country: "I respect Pelosi," he told me back then, "but it's time for her to pack it in-- past time. She's hurting the party's chance to decisively win the midterms and put a check on Trump. I know it's not fair, but the Republicans have succeeded in demonizing her, especially with independent voters... We're going to have to tell our voters that we don't want her or Ryan as Speaker.. We feel bad about equating them both but not even Democrats in [our district] want to see her back with the Speaker's gavel... I agree with you that Hoyer and Crowley would be much worse party leaders but most voters have never heard of either one of them and the Republicans can't use them against candidates... unless they read some obscure blog like yours." Another candidate told me that "She's pretty toxic among the independent voters here. I don't have anything against her but it isn't just Republicans who hate her. Many Democrats want to see her just move on and make room for someone else... Her time is over."

Candidates willing to go on the record back then:
James Thompson, currently running for Congress in a Kansas rematch, has a very different perspective on this than anyone else because he just went through the experience a few months ago. "I ran for Congress in the 4th District of Kansas in the very first Special Election after Trump was inaugurated," he told us. "The DCCC claims they did not help my race because they did not want to 'nationalize it.' Yet, as soon as I received the nomination from the Kansas Democratic Party to run for Congress, the Republican Party 'nationalized' the campaign by immediately tying me to Leader Pelosi, saying she hand-picked me and that I was her puppet. Ron Estes and the Republicans in Kansas, led by the KOCH brothers ultra-conservative political machine, never met a lie they didn’t like. I had never met, nor even spoke with, Nancy Pelosi and yet was being branded like a bull with her unpopularity here in Kansas. She sure never helped my race, and the mere mention of her name hurt my campaign. The same ads used against Ossoff, were used against me by simply switching out his picture for mine. The night of the special election, Leader Pelosi called and offered her condolences for my loss. She was warm, friendly and sympathetic and I greatly appreciated her taking the time out of her busy schedule to call me. While I respect her as a person and her accomplishments as Speaker of the House, her time in leadership needs to end for the good of the Democratic Party. With better leadership from the party, we may have been able to harness the progressive wave sweeping the country and possibly win some of the Special Elections. The Democratic Party needs an infusion of new progressive leadership like Keith Ellison and Ro Khanna. Regardless of whether it is true, Republicans will brand every Democrat with the Pelosi brand in hopes of sinking campaigns in 2018 with the mere mention of her name. New leadership needs to take over and lead the fight for a 50 state strategy. If Leader Pelosi is still in office when I get to Congress, I will vote for new leadership that will ensure the Democratic Party fights in all 50 states."

Tom Guild in Oklahoma City knows he's definitely going to face a barrage of ads conflating him with Pelosi. He doesn't seem worried. "Because of the extreme dysfunction in Congress today, I’m going to wait and see who the candidates for House Democratic Leader/Speaker are before deciding which person to support. It would be hard to do worse than Paul Ryan has done as the leader of House Republicans. I want a progressive who can pass an increase to the minimum wage, single payer health care, a massive infrastructure bill to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure while creating millions of good paying jobs, direct and hasten the transition to renewable energy sources, and invest in America before looking for new overseas military adventures. I will take this decision seriously and am not in anyone’s hip pocket. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio (or his closest living iteration in Congress)? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you."

Jared Golden is running for the Maine seat held by Trump rubber stamp Bruce Poliquin. He's the Majority Whip of the state legislature and he has a clear understanding about how legislative bodies work. One of his primary opponents happens to be straight out of Pelosi's coterie of super-wealthy elites. And Golden didn't mince any words. "It’s time for a new generation of leaders in Washington. My support will go to the leader that shows me they care about and understand the priorities of working class people-- it’s got to be someone serious about rebuilding an economy that doesn’t leave small rural states like Maine behind. I want to serve with leaders that demonstrate they have the courage to fight for progressive values and the ability to work across the aisle to deliver results. We need service-driven leaders who will do what’s best for this country and I believe that’s to fight for the great majority-- working and middle class people."

Jenny Marshall, the progressive Democrat running for the Piedmont seat Virginia Foxx occupies toked us that "People are looking for a person that can relate to the everyday struggles of average Americans. They need to know that their representative is not bought and paid for by corporate interests. We are separating ourselves from candidates who do not support progressive issues like single payer health care, campaign finance reform including eliminating corporate donations to campaigns. These issues are important for our communities and they need to know that they have a strong choice that supports what they need."

Doug Applegate has a similar perspective-- as well as some creepy Pelosi candidate backed by big money in his primary. When I asked him if the GOP Machine will try to conflate him with Pelosi, he laughed and said, "You’ve got to be kidding me. Since nearly beating Darrell Issa after the DCCC came in late in the race only 67 days before election day 2016, corporate and establishment Democrats have only indicated that the last person they want to join their club is a Marine Colonel. While Dem Hill members insist they won’t endorse until after the primary, multiple conservative Democrat Congressmen endorse Mike Levin whose corporation received an 'undisclosed payment/investment' from Exxon in the summer of 2016. Despite that bump from the biggest carbon fuel producer, Levin still insists that he’s an environmental lawyer.  As a former Clinton aide and Qualcomm heiress, a crowbar couldn’t pry Sara Jacobs away from moneyed corporate Democrats and Pelosi. I’m not a corporate Democrat; I’m not an establishment Democrat. I’m a Marine Colonel who will fight for change, for a new labor movement, for single payer healthcare, for public preschool to public university regardless of parental income, for ending oil subsidies that will free market forces to reach 100% renewable energy by 2027 and for real change. The only label you will ever stick on me is 'he’s a Marine Colonel who will fight like hell for change.'"

John Rogers, the monkey the House Republicans hired to run their version of the DCCC, the NRCC, admits he's counting on benefitting from the years-long attempts to use Nancy Pelosi against Democratic congressional candidates. He admits that the NRCC's main weapon to try to hold onto the House is by making every race about her. "In reality," he said, "next fall is going to come down to whether or not you want to reinstitute Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House."

It's true that the Republicans have become a one-trick pony with that narrative and have every intention of using it again, the way they used it against Jon Ossoff in Georgia last year. Ossoff was an extraordinarily weak and pointless candidate-- a real DCCC special-- and it was predictable that he would be vulnerable to that kind of idiotic attack. The DCCC was never capable of the kind of single-minded aggressiveness it would have taken to turn the tables on the GOP by making Ryan into the kind of villain the Republicans have made Pelosi into. The irony there was that before Randy Bryce chased him off the field of battle, Ryan was already more disliked nationally than Pelosi was-- even after years of Republican slander against her!

In the last poll before he announced he would leave Congress to teach little Sammy and Charlie how to shoot rabbits with bows and arrows, Ryan's unfavorable rating was 49.3%, compared to Pelosi's 48.7%. Luckily for Senate Democrats, Mitch McConnell has a far lower popularity than either of them-- and is the most disliked politician in America. This was from last August:

Note the only leaders from either party with statistically more positive support than negativity are Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. People-- as in registered voters-- absolutely hate both Trump and Hillary, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The public rejects these people-- yet they still are managing to control the levers of power in Washington. The whole corrupt, money-fueled system stinks to High Heaven.

The only thing that has kept Pelosi in power this long are the wretched alternatives-- Hoyer and, at one time, Wasserman Schultz, for example-- but Crowley is worse than either Pelosi or Hoyer and just as unpalatable as Wasserman Schultz.

In March Mike Allen pointed out that Pelosi could be in trouble after the Democratic wave sweeps her party back into power in November. He wrote that "Top Democrats" tell him that "if they take back the House in November, a restoration of Speaker Nancy Pelosi is no longer guaranteed."
In fact, some well-wired House Democrats predict she will be forced aside after the election and replaced by a younger, less divisive Dem.
Conor Lamb, 33, won his U.S. House race in Pennsylvania this week after saying he wouldn't vote for her for leader-- a new template for moderates.
Pelosi has hung in through the minority, and remains the party's most consistent fundraiser. As for whether she'll return as Speaker, she has just said that it's up to the members. (Her allies note that she has never lost a leadership vote.)
But others have their eye on the gavel, and many members want a younger, newer face. Her No. 2 and longtime rival, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, 78, covets the job but is three months older than she is.
Pelosi is more likely to be the bridge to a younger generation. A possible successor, who works the caucus behind the scenes, is Rep. Joe Crowley of Queens, N.Y., who turns 56 tomorrow.
Another possible candidate who's getting buzz: Rep. Adam Schiff, a fellow Californian who has a sky-high profile as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, investigating Russia's role in 2016.
One Democratic source told me that Pelosi hears footsteps: “She used to be retributional. Now she’s more inclusive.”
Pelosi allies see some of the criticism as sexist, and say she has always been inclusive of all parts of the caucus' diversity, including newer members.
Pelosi told the Congressional Progressive Caucus at a retreat in Baltimore last week: "Every morning, I don a suit of armor, eat nails for breakfast, and go fight inequality."
President Trump plans to invoke her frequently in midterm speeches, and Republicans already use her image to raise funds. And in campaigns this fall, many Dems challengers will be put on the spot about whether they'd vote for her as Speaker.
One scenario, from a Pelosi ally:
"She could win the caucus vote [for Speaker] easily but lose the floor vote."
"[I]f Dems win the majority by, say, a 10-vote majority, and 15 newly elected Dems have committed not to vote for her [like Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania] for leader of the party, ... she could lose the floor vote for Speaker. That would give the House to the head of the Republicans."
"She would never let that happen, and she would bow out to someone else."
"[S]he’s the best vote counter this generation has ever seen. So she’ll know this scenario well in advance, and will figure out a way out that will preserve her legacy."
Be smart: If there's a post-election coup against Pelosi, Crowley is the likely winner because Schiff and the others would scramble the field and Joe is acceptable to all factions.
One knowing Dem says: "My guess is Crowley is the next Dem Speaker/Leader. He’s the fresh face that the majority of the caucus yearns for ... He’s a spring chicken by congressional standards, at 55 years old."
Crowley is the most corrupt Democrat in the House. The Queens County Democrat boss who was handed his seat and never fought a real election in his entire life and the "former" head of the New Dems, is the bagman who launders Wall Street's money into the Democratic House Caucus. He's "acceptable to all factions" because he pays off all factions. Pelosi's corpse would make a better Speaker than Crowley. The thought of Crowley as Speaker is so disgusting that I'm going to go to the bathroom and vomit now. Crowley is even worse than this:

Weigel and Kane assert that Democrats refusing to back Pelosi "are following in the footsteps of newly elected Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb, who scored a stunning upset in March in a Republican Pennsylvania district after saying he would oppose Pelosi" but then go quite a bit further.
This clamor for change at the top underscores the generational tensions within the House Democratic caucus as younger lawmakers look to replace not only Pelosi but also two other septuagenarians-- Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD.), 78, and Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (D-SC), 77.

Pelosi stands as the Democratic conundrum, a prolific fundraiser and skilled politician, as well as a deeply polarizing figure used by Republicans as a club against Democrats.

The dynamic sets the stage for a potential showdown-- should Democrats win the majority-- between Pelosi allies, who would relish the historic moment of returning a woman to one of the most influential positions in the country, and her critics, many of whom would have won office by promising a change in leadership.

“We will win. I will run for speaker. I feel confident about it. And my members do, too,” Pelosi told a meeting of Boston Globe reporters and editors on Tuesday. Earlier, at an event in New York City, she introduced several of her fellow House Democrats to the crowd by highlighting which committee they would lead next year, assuming a Democratic majority.

“It’s important that it not be five white guys at the table, no offense,” Pelosi said in Boston, a reference to the top leaders in the House and Senate and President Trump. “I have no intention of walking away from that table.”

There is the question of whether Pelosi would have the votes to win the job. Unlike other leadership posts, which are selected by secret ballot in the respective caucuses, the entire House must vote for the speaker in early January. The minority party never votes for the majority’s speaker-designate, so it would require Pelosi to get at least 218 votes from her side of the aisle.

So, if Democrats ended up with a caucus of 235, Pelosi could afford to lose 17 votes when the speaker vote is held on the floor.

Pelosi’s strength comes from several sources, the first among equals being her fundraising on behalf of candidates and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Her advisers attributed 45 percent of the committee’s $34 million raised in the first quarter of 2018 to Pelosi.

But there are other, beneath-the-radar reasons Pelosi feels confident in her post.

Despite GOP claims, Pelosi is not as unpopular as she was eight years ago when she was speaker. Back then, 58 percent of Americans had an unfavorable view of Pelosi, including 41 percent who held a strongly unfavorable view.

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month, just 44 percent of Americans held an unfavorable view, with those strongly disliking her down to 29 percent.

That played out in Lamb’s victory. Outside Republican groups spent more than $6 million on TV ads in southwestern Pennsylvania, the lion’s share of it on commercials trying to tie Lamb to Pelosi. But the 33-year-old Democrat ran an ad making clear he would not support Pelosi, calling for new leadership on both sides of the aisle.

It helped to inoculate him against the Pelosi attack line. GOP operatives now worry that other Democrats will follow Lamb’s lead and that there will be even less potency in the anti-Pelosi campaign that they have been hoping will save their majority in the fall.

Most Democrats have distanced themselves from Pelosi but have tried to avoid taking a hard-and-fast position on how they would vote if she is the Democratic nominee for speaker. Kathy Manning, a Democratic candidate here in western North Carolina, said in an interview that she would like to see an open contest for party leader.

“I would make that decision like I make all my decisions: Get as much information as I can, find out who’s running, find out what their positions are, then vote for the person who’d make the best leader,” Manning said.

This sort of nuanced answer-- she never explicitly says she opposes Pelosi-- is one that Republicans will use to try to turn her into a Pelosi clone. North Carolina Republicans have already begun highlighting Manning’s $500 and $1,000 donations to Pelosi’s political committees in 2002 and 2004.

Pelosi and Hoyer have held the top two spots in leadership for more than a dozen years, while Clyburn has held the No. 3 post since 2011. Clyburn raised eyebrows a few weeks ago when he told Politico that this year’s midterm elections were an up-or-out moment for the trio, that all three would have to step down if Democrats failed to secure the majority.

Democrats are not demanding a loyalty pledge from candidates who might flip the majority their way. McCready and Manning have been added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” list, denoting them as candidates who can expect party support in their primaries and the general election.

In an interview, Elissa Slotkin, a “red-to-blue” candidate in a GOP-held southwest Michigan district, said she would prefer an alternative to Pelosi.

“I think it’s clear that on both sides of the aisle, people are seeking new leadership, and I’m going to be looking for someone who best represents my district and what we care about here. And I believe that’s a new generation of leaders,” said Slotkin, a former Defense Department official running her first congressional race.

Some House Democrats are openly advising these candidates to oppose Pelosi.

“If Republicans want to do the same thing to Elissa Slotkin that they did to Conor Lamb, all Conor Lamb had to do was point to the front page of the newspaper that said ‘Conor Lamb will not vote for Nancy Pelosi.’ It’s phony. It’s played out,” said Rep. Cheri Bustos (Blue Dog-IL), who traveled to Michigan this week to campaign for Slotkin.

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At 7:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't know how she expects to get enough Democrats to elect her leader/Speaker."

$he'll do it one or both of two ways:
1) $he will buy the gavel. $he'll butter her caucus$ with some of her "prolific fundraising". $he's been doing that since 2000 and it work$.
2) $he'll tell her caucus$ that if $he loses the floor vote, they risk having the $peaker being a Nazi. Her caucus$ will fall in line immediately. There will be no $cenario where $he wins the caucus$ and loses the floor. The 'crap$ won't allow a Nazi to be the default $peaker for a 'crap majority.

"She's hurting the party's chance to decisively win the midterms and put a check on Trump."

In fact, $he's doing her all to ensure that her "party" does NOT win a majority at all. And $he does NOT WANT to check trump. You fucking people cannot remember even 12 years ago when $he did nothing to check cheney/bush so that $he could win that FDR majority in the $enate and hou$e plus a corporate $eat-warmer in the WH in 2008. $he's doing the very $ame thing now. WAKE THE FUCK UP!

At 7:13 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

Nancy has two other challengers in the primary

As for Crowley vote for this person.

At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's say that one of Nancy's challengers manages to defeat her, or that if elected she isn't elected Speaker. Are we to expect that someone like Blue Dog (and DCCC recruit) Dan McCready of North Carolina will replace her?


The problem isn't restricted to her personally. The problem is the corrupt party leadership.

Just as the GOP wasn't seriously damaged as a party when Dave Brat knocked off Eric Cantor (who if had he won re-election would likely now be Speaker instead of Ryan), taking Nancy down just means some less-disciplined and more power-hungry DINO gets the job.

There is no quick fix to repair the "democrats". The only option is to emulate the fed-up Whigs and form a new Party.

At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's just speculate that Pelosi does not win the caucus. Who then?
Well, could it possibly be a non-corporate non-fascist real-life liberal or progressive?

Axe yourself this: What would the big donors to all those PACs, the DNC and the DxCCs threaten if this happened? And the democraps, being thoroughly creatures of corruption and graft, would STILL elect someone like Jayapal (not her, she's only been there for one cycle)?

The answer is no. The 'craps will show their love for the money and make Crowley or someone equivalent (there are over a hundred of those to pick from) their choice.

But more likely, they'll just take Pelosi's money and rubber-stamp her gavel again.

At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The question really is: Will the democraps ever free themselves of their love of corporate money?

The answer to this is the same. Not just no... but FUCK NO!!


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