Saturday, August 11, 2018

Pelosi Might Not Be A Great Leader Any Longer But Most Of The Members Who Want Her Position Are FAR Worse


Bernie founded the Congressional Caucus in 1991 and among the first 20 members only 5 are still in the House: Pete DeFazio (D-OR), Maxine Waters (R-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)... yes, Nancy Pelosi. She was a progressive then and back then the "progressive" in the Congressional Progressive Caucus meant a lot more than it does now. She resigned from it in 2001 when she joined the House leadership and was elected party whip. Soon after, she and majority leader, Dick Gephardt, went their own separate ways. Gephardt helped Bush write the Iraq War resolution and crossed the aisle with a minority of Democrats to pass it. Pelosi rallied most of the Democrats to oppose it. Although the official story was that Gephardt was leaving the majority leader position to run for president in 2002, the real story that he was that Pelosi killed him over the Iraq War. She became minority leader in 2002 and then speaker in 2006.

She really was a progressive. But once she was party leader, she had to be able to work with them whole party and she toned down and toned down her instinctual ideological bent... until it ceased to exist.

She's about power and party now, dead center, garden variety Democrat. Is she going to be speaker again in 2019? The Beltway media was all over that yesterday. Mike DeBonis kicked off with a Washington Post story, Pelosi is the star of GOP attack ads, worrying Democrats upbeat about midterms. The Republican attacks have transformed her into a polarizing figure-- though not as polarizing as Mitch McConnell, who isn't being asked to step down (based on how the Democrats have defined him).

I'm not a big fan of Pelosi's-- especially when it comes to how she has ruined the DCCC with a series of incompetent conservative chairs from Rahm to Israel (and the current staff-operated nonentity). But... there are 2 questions to pay attention to:

1- are Democrats going to allow the GOP to define their own leader?

2- if they replace her is it because they have someone better to put in?

There are plenty of ambitious, far less talented, far more conservative Democrats who see themselves as speaker. On Thursday, when ultra-progressive, Rashida Tlaib, told CNN's John Berman on New Day that she "probably" wouldn't vote for Pelosi, the word "probably," was important. I don't expect Rashida to back some ambitious, corrupt, right-of-center New Dem like Kathleen Rice (NY) or some stinking Blue Dog like Cheri Bustos (IL). She not into Pelosi because Pelosi, she said "[is] supporting big banks and supporting efforts that I don’t think put the people first is troubling… She doesn't speak about the issues that are important to the families of the 13th Congressional District, and they are a priority for me." OK, fair enough but who's running who would be better? That's the key. Rice or Bustos would be much worse, much, much worse. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) handled the question the way all progressives candidates should: "Let me win the election first in November before I make commitments… I think that she’s a candidate to consider." Susan Wild (PA), who wouldn't commit to voting for her-- or against her-- came right to the point: "If any other political official had done what she has done, but had been male, that question would not constantly be coming up."

Randy Bryce (WI) is savvy enough to say he wants to look at the options first. I suspect if Ted Lieu or Barbara Lee, Jamie Raskin or Pramila Jayapal were candidates it would be easy for progressives like Bryce to make a quick decision. But neither they nor any other progressive is likely to run against Pelosi. Bryce: "It’s not something that I spend a lot of time thinking about. I’m extremely concerned about making sure we get another working person in Congress, and once I get there, I definitely would be anxious to see who wants to take the reins of the leadership position."

Lisa Brown (WA) just won her primary Tuesday. She was the majority leader of the Washington state House and her answer reflected the realities of party leadership: "I have already stated that I’d like to see new people included in the Democrats' leadership team. That being said, this decision is too important to make in advance without knowing who the candidates will be, discussing their performance with other members, especially those from the Northwest, and having a chance to interview them personally."

Dana Balter (NY), the progressive candidate from Syracuse who was bitterly opposed by the DCCC but kicked their asses (and has every reason to oppose Pelosi), had a perfect response to the question: "I don't really know an answer to this question because when I choose a candidate for any election I look at the candidates and I don't know who's running… I think we are stuck in the old way of doing things, and we need not only new energy but a new approach." But it's got to be a better approach, not just a different approach.

Then look at some of the real dummies, generally right-of-center, like Dan Kohl (WI): "If I'm elected to Congress, I would not vote for Nancy Pelosi as leader of the Democrats." Anthony Brindisi (Blue Dog-NY) is the same kind of idiot: "I believe it's time for new leadership on both sides of the aisle." He doesn't get to pick who the GOP nominates to replace Ryan. And, clearly, he wants someone as far to the right as the Democratic leader as he is himself. That's what Pelosi gets for having the DCCC recruit garbage Republican-lite candidates like Brindisi. Probably even further right than Brindisi is Jeff Van Drew (Blue Dog-NJ), the worst of the DCCC recruits: "We need to change the leadership in Washington. After more than a decade of leading House Democrats as Speaker and Minority Leader, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi will not have my support as leader in the next session." Opposition from right-wing Democrats like Van Drew and Brindisi, with their purely Republican records in their state legislatures, should give pause to normal Democrats. Here's the list of people already on the record for and against Pelosi.

Back to DeBonis who makes the point that the "polarizing figure" (not by anything she's done, but 100% because of constant, vicious and deranged GOP attacks) "is making it harder for many of their candidates to compete in crucial swing districts." That alone might make it incumbent upon Democrats to elect her as leader again. "Republicans... have made the House minority leader a central element of their attack ads and are portraying many of their opponents as inextricably tied to the liberal from San Francisco." OK, fuck them and the elephant they rode in on.

"At the same time," DeBonis continued, "some Democrats are expressing alarm that she is standing in the way of the next generation of leaders." OK, true enough... and who exactly is saying that? Mostly conservative Democrats who imagine themselves in that spot-- Rice, Cooper, Moulton, Bustos, all terrible choices. DeBonis wrote that some "are beginning to speak out about how allowing Pelosi to remain in charge of the caucus could reduce the size of a Democratic wave in November or worse, imperil their ability to win the majority." A little late for that argument. That boat has sailed.

"People pretend that it isn’t a problem, but it’s a problem that exists," said Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY), who said he heard from frustrated colleagues this week concerned that the anti-Pelosi messaging cost Democrats in Ohio." But not the much redder Conor Lamb district in Pennsylvania? Grow up, asshole!
The tension is exacerbated by a growing generational rift in the Democratic caucus, with younger candidates and members looking to assert themselves against a leadership team that includes Pelosi, 78, and her top lieutenant, 79-year-old Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) Among the Democratic candidates who have declined to endorse Pelosi is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the 28-year-old Democratic Socialist from Queens [she's from the Bronx, professor] who has become a national star of the party’s left wing.

Tlaib, of Michigan, said it was time for a generational change, telling CNN Thursday that her constituents “don’t feel like they’re being heard, and I think that starts at the top with leadership.”

Republicans say Pelosi, who is well-known among voters from her four years as House speaker starting in 2007 and who wants to reclaim the job, continues to be a reliable shorthand for a liberal Democratic agenda.

About a third of Republican ads in the Ohio race mentioned or depicted Pelosi, and GOP strategists argued that Democratic candidate Danny O’Connor’s last-minute equivocating on the Pelosi question was a deciding factor.

Pelosi and her allies pointed to the top-line reality of Ohio: A district that voted for Trump in 2016 by 11 points and for Republican congressional candidates by much bigger margins swung decisively to Democrats. The GOP’s reliance on anti-Pelosi messages, they say, reflects an inability to find any other effective issue-- and to the extent she is a factor at all, her role is dwarfed by that of the president.

“Trump is the only figure who looms large over the midterms,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill. “At the end of the day the midterms are about the president and his party, especially when they’re in control of every branch of government.”

Pelosi has long touted her ability to navigate the complex internal politics of her caucus. “I think I’m worth the trouble, quite frankly,” she said last year after Democrats narrowly lost a Georgia special election where she was a centerpiece of GOP attacks.

Still, Democratic candidates across the country are being pressed about whether they support Pelosi, and regardless of how they answer, they are being subjected to GOP attacks tying them to her.

On Wednesday, the biggest Republican super PAC focusing on House races debuted an ad against Kansas candidate Paul Davis-- one of more than two dozen House Democratic candidates who have openly spurned Pelosi-- declaring that “a vote for Paul Davis is a vote for Nancy Pelosi.” [Davis is a right-of-center Blue Dog with more in common with Republicans than with Pelosi. If he can't defend himself from the deceitful ad, he should find another line of work.]

Ken Spain, a Republican political consultant, said Democrats are “going to leave seats on the table” as long as Pelosi remains a viable face of their party.

“In a race that was decided by 1,000 or 1,500 votes, that was probably a difference- maker,” he said. Even if Democrats win the House in November, he added, “it could be the difference between having a razor-thin majority and a governing majority. It’s a lot easier to move legislation when you have a cushion of votes to work with.”

In the Ohio race, outside Republican groups aired ads on a variety of themes-- taxes, opioids, education, health care and seniors. But Pelosi ads dominated, especially in the final week. [The GOP has nothing positive to say about their pathetic agenda and record, so they attack Pelosi. It rarely works.]

O’Connor said early on that he did not support Pelosi remaining as the top Democrat in the House-- echoing the stance of Conor Lamb, the Pennsylvania Democrat who won a March special election in a GOP-leaning district.

But GOP attack ads targeting O’Connor still highlighted Pelosi, and he gave those attacks fresh oxygen a week before Election Day when, under persistent questioning during an MSNBC interview, he conceded he would vote for Pelosi as speaker if the choice were between her and a Republican.

Higgins said Democratic candidates, especially in Republican-leaning districts, are trying to “customize their appeal” to their particular races, and the Pelosi questions complicate that task: “They are stuck with that question, and they do not deal with it well. You equivocate, and it jams you up, and it costs you votes,” he said.

A GOP operative familiar with private Republican polling said the numbers turned toward Republican candidate Troy Balderson after O’Connor’s MSNBC remarks-- during a period that also included Trump’s rally in the district and an ad from Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R). A Democratic campaign official said that they did not see any movement in their polling in that time frame.

Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said GOP officials saw no evidence in Ohio that Pelosi attacks have lost their potency.

“When Nancy Pelosi becomes a central part of the discussion in any race, that is something we’re winning on because we’re not just talking about her, we’re talking about her policies,” Hunt said.

Asked by CNN Wednesday if Pelosi had hurt his campaign, O’Connor returned to his preferred way of discussing the Democratic leader: As a figure from the past who needed to move aside.

“It tells me that folks are ready for a new generation of leadership,” O’Connor said.

Goal ThermometerTlaib, who also is looking for a change, previously expressed reservations about Pelosi in an April interview with the Hill, citing her role in pushing former congressman John Conyers Jr. (D-MI) out of Congress over sexual harassment allegations.

[Worthless moron] Abigail Spanberger, running against GOP incumbent Dave Brat in the suburbs of Richmond, told the New York Times in an article published Thursday that “under no circumstances” would she support Pelosi for speaker.

Republicans have gotten little political traction from their tax cuts, as other economic changes-- rising gas prices and blowback from Trump’s tariffs-- have offset any financial lift. Instead, as a three-month sprint to November begins, Republicans are focusing on the fear of “open borders,” tax increases, the MS-13 gang, and Pelosi back in charge, overseeing a liberal caucus.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said that whether trained on Pelosi or any other issue, the Republican message has failed to resonate with voters.

“Week after week, Republicans claimed to have a new silver bullet or line of attack against Danny O’Connor, yet his positive image only strengthened over the course of the election,” he said. “Republicans are on the brink of losing the House, and they are flailing.”

Pelosi has been careful recently to keep her party’s message focused. She has not embraced calls for Trump’s impeachment; nor has she offered any actual support for a growing campaign on the left to eliminate the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. But Republicans say that, in the eyes of voters, Pelosi’s name is shorthand for extreme liberal policies-- even those she does not personally support.

“To the average American-- not the average Republican, the average American-- Nancy Pelosi and her San Francisco liberal values are completely removed from reality,” said Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC, citing focus-group research. “That means the resistance movement and everything that comes along with it-- raising taxes, getting rid of ICE, trying to impeach Trump.”
Other than being a Democrat, there is nothing intrinsic about Nancy Pelosi that the Republicans have targeted with their ugly hatred (unless it is also being a woman). The same kind of attacks could easily be launched against any Democrat. These Republican attacks should not be the reason House Democrats vote her out of leadership. Let's see if they come up with a better candidate. I hope they do. But scuttlebutt among Democrats is that Pelosi just wants 100 days as Speaker and that she'll retire after that. She has told other House Democrats that that rumor is false. Whatever, Democrats should not allow Republicans to pick Democratic leaders-- or candidates. Right now the GOP-funded (include the Murdochs) No Labels is working to chose conservative candidates over progressives. Democrats have to avoid this. We have a Republican Party controlled by conservative billionaires; we don't need a Republican-lite party controlled by conservative billionaires on top of it.

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At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any longer! I challenge anyone to justify a contention that she was EVER anything but a shitty leader.

Prior to her ambition, she was a fairly able rep for her district. I'll give her that. But simultaneous with her ambition was her total and complete capitulation to the DLC and corporate money. She didn't start laying down for the money reluctantly either.

One COULD argue that she is primarily to blame for the total collapse of any and all moral authority of the democrap house caucus as well as the entire party, since she tyrannically rules the DCCC. All you need to do is look at the results; blowing elections, promoting the most corrupt and inept people possible, vowing to abrogate their oaths, utter failure in messaging (plausible lying) and so on. Harriet reid deserves honorable mention for his hatchet job on the democraps in the senate, though those whores didn't exactly object to becoming a joke.

The democrap party faces a seminal decision point... maybe. They'll either repudiate all the amoral instincts of their entire leadershit, tell the money to go fuck itself and go back to being the party they were in 1960 (no chance in hell) or they'll announce what their actions have betrayed for over 35 years; that the voters can go fuck themselves... they're taking the money (probably not an announcement, but this is where they'll go).

99.999% chance that they'll stay on their backs for the money and only pander to the people -- the bill fucking Clinton third way corruption and lies (their voters have had their heads up their asses since 1980. no reason to think that will change). And AOC, stache and the rest will either act as party/tribe apologists (see: Bernie, Elizabeth, Ted et al) or they'll never see a nickel from the DNC or DxCCs. Only those with true principles will refuse; but none will speak out. And all of those will be gone by 2022.

IOW, nothing will change. ever. Same as it has been since 1982.

Truth: the democraps won't ever change. Only the voters can force change... and must make them go away.

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If any other political official had done what she has done, but had been male, that question would not constantly be coming up."

You mean someone who recruits republicans to run as democraps, promotes the most amoral and corrupt to leadershit, ignores and loses winnable seats in the name of purity of corruption (no, not ironic in America), has openly vowed to violate the oath of office in the name of party... is golden if that someone is a (white) dude?

OK. I'll buy that. Harriet Reid did it. Gephart did it. The only one who ever told the truth about how shitty both of them were was me.

Poor nancy. if only she were a he, her corruption and ineptitude AND betrayal of every lefty voter in the country for 30 years would have gone unnoticed. I do feel sorry for her.

At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it clear YET why believing the Party can be taken over from within is a fantasy? Mother Nature will erase humanity off the face of the Earth before that achievement can be realized.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger Anthony said...

So...we should all just kill ourselves now and give up any hope of accomplishing anything at all because life as we know it is fucked by your logic.

At 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go ahead, Anthony. You won't be missed.

At 3:25 AM, Blogger Anthony said...

Only if you all join me. I'm saying all of you because there's so many anonymi here I don't know which anonymous I'm addressing.

At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony, you can either keep doing what has never worked (since 1981) and which DWT (and I) keeps proving won't ever work... or you can try something different.

I'm simply pointing out that to keep voting for democraps won't ever accomplish anything you want accomplished (unless you are one of those "just win baby" simpletons).

If you want to get shit done, you'll have to try another path.

Vote Green or something else. You'll have to hope enough others have the same epiphany before it's too late, but that's more realistic than hoping the democraps will completely change ... ever.

At 7:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's alright, Anthony. Only a clueless person such as yourself would ask someone to do something he wouldn't do himself. It's the Republican way.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger Alice said...

If we impeach Trump and Pence on conspiracy to commit child abduction Pelosi will be president.

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Anthony said...

You're going full Alex Jones and taking what I say to horribly exaggerated extremes, but I'm admittedly being a bit vague in my messaging. The ultimate goal here being opening the door for viable third, fourth or even fifth parties to enter into the equation. 93% of elections can be predicted by who raises the most money. None of the republican candidates are interested in getting money out of politics. A growing number of democrats are. So for now, those democrats have my support.

At 1:20 PM, Blogger U.S. Citizen said...

You all make good points. The vitriolic ad hominem attacks are not helpful.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, Anthony! Why didn't you say this up front? I might have retained a modicum of respect for you. Now I have to watch your future offerings to see just how consistent you are.

At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony, the only democraps who matter are those few who will determine policy if they fall face first into another majority. Pelosi, Hoyer and a half dozen other hand-picked and vetted (by the money) in the house; scummer and 3 or 4 other hand-picked and vetted (same notation) in the senate.

Just as a candidate's position on MFA, a candidate's position on money in politics is totally irrelevant. It's Pelosi and scummer who matter wrt money. Them alone. And both of them LOVE their money in politics.

ponder that.

Alice: Who is this "WE" you hallucinate about who will impeach anyone? Pelosi, the only one who determines this, just as she did in 2006, has already forsworn impeachment.

So... if it's from some good (legal?) kush… good for you. If it's organic... seek help. It cannot ever happen.

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa Brown, former WA Senate Majority Leader, is no progressive. She refused to meet with key anti-foreclosurs activists who had taken two important pro-homeowner bills to the Senate floor. Instead, she allowed the bankers to kill both bills on the Senate floor. I am NO fan of Lisa Brown.


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