The case for Pelosi

I’m not some huge fan of Nancy Pelosi.  She strikes me as an effective legislative leader and a helluva a fundraiser.  I’ll take it.  Sure, she’s got her flaws, but of all the dumb takeaways of Georgia 6 “Pelosi has to go” has got to be the dumbest.  A nice defense from Jeet Heer:

The case against Pelosi is by no means clear cut. Her detractors note that Republican attack ads in the Georgia race gave her prominence, apparently evidence that her unpopularity is a drag on the party. “The fact that Republicans spent millions of dollars on TV ads tying Democratic hopeful Jon Ossoff to Pelosi — and the brand of progressive policies she represents — shows that she will once again be an issue for Democratic challengers in the very districts that the party needs to win to make her speaker again,” Politico notes. Yet as Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan tweeted:

The ads that featured Pelosi were aimed at energizing highly partisan Republicans, the type of people who would know and hate any Democratic leader. Pelosi is a villain in these ads almost by default, since more prominent party leaders—Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton—have stepped aside, and thus lack sufficient scariness as bogeymen. Moreover, getting rid of Pelosi just because Republicans hate her would be a singularly craven move for Democrats—and would probably be ineffective to boot, in this regard. Her successor would become the GOP’s new top enemy. [emphasis mine]

The ideological critique of Pelosi is equally confused. To Republicans, she’s the archetypical “San Fransisco Democrat,” committed to unrestrained liberalism and out of touch with heartland values. Yet to Pelosi’s left-wing critics, she’s utterly without principles and cares only about holding the reins. “The Democratic House leadership is dedicated to retaining power for themselves and nothing else,” arguesMatt Stoller, a fellow at the New America Foundation. “Nancy Pelosi is utterly incoherent. She’s not a leader, she’s in charge of making sure no other leaders emerge.”

Both these critiques miss the central fact about Pelosi: She’s been an extraordinarily effective parliamentarian.

I’m sure there’s some decent takes for why Pelosi should be replaced in favor of new leadership– I just haven’t seen them in the wake of GA 06.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to The case for Pelosi

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    Replace Pelosi – because Republicans have taught their voters to hate her? Really? If the Democrats replace Pelosi, Republicans will demonize her replacement….and any other Democrats that they find threatening to them. They are working on Elizabeth Warren now.
    If Pelosi is replaced, the Democrats will lose a skilled and experienced leader at a time of great peril to the party. Win a few elections and then talk about someone younger.

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