More Pelosi

Great piece from Jon Bernstein:

Two things Democrats should know:

Congressional leaders are almost always unpopular. Pelosi isn’t unpopular because she’s a liberal, or from San Francisco, or even because of misogyny. She’s unpopular because she’s a congressional leader. As of last June, Pelosi was 20 percentage points underwater in favorability polling. So was Paul Ryan.

Both were targeted in ads by the other party in the recent Pennsylvania election. That’s just par for the course throughout U.S. history…

Besides, the anti-Pelosi message isn’t really about swing voters, who barely know who she is. It helps fire up partisan Republicans. And Republican-aligned media has no problem creating new demons for hard-core Republican voters to get fired up against.

Democrats in Congress who are impatient to move up or who simply believe the leadership has grown stale have a stronger case to make. All organizations eventually need change at the top. Even though Pelosi was an excellent speaker of the House and has been a first-rate minority leader, it’s clear that at 77 she no longer represents a long-term leadership option.

But neither is Steny Hoyer, and neither is next-in-line James Clyburn. It’s absolutely true that Democrats need to prepare for succession in the House, and I’ve criticized Pelosi for not doing so in the past. If there really is pressure to accelerate the process, that’s probably the source of it. The solution isn’t to push her out, however. It’s to push Hoyer out, and probably Clyburn too. Then, House Democrats can have their big fight over their future leader without having to commit to someone untested right away, since they would only be choosing the second-ranked position — whip if they remain in the minority, or leader if they win a majority in November.

Now that is a sensible take.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

4 Responses to More Pelosi

  1. Nicole K. says:

    The names Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi have been essentially given the exact same treatment by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy for over a decade. I can remember listening to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Micheal Savage, and Mark Levin talk about Hillary since the ’90s and Pelosi since I was in high school and she was second in command to Dick Gephardt around 2000-2001. I’ve also heard them give similar treatment to “Dingy Harry” Reed and “Turban Durban” (Limbaugh’s favorite nicknames) But Clinton and Pelosi have gotten by far the worst demonization for the longest amount of time by conservative media, and I’m pretty sure their treatment has been much worse because they are women..

    I’m no fan of the GOP anymore. I wanted Hillary to be our president. But I admit that both of their names still trigger that knee-jerk conditioned response that makes me feel like they are two of the worst people in the entire world and that they basically like to boil babies and eat them on a regular basis. I’ve learned to disregard that conditioned emotional association for the most part because I am fully aware that it is the result of basically being brainwashed for years, but I will admit to still feeling that way when I initially hear either of their names. Elizabeth Warren also causes a similar reaction, and that one is much harder to disregard because I really think she’s the liberal version of Ted Cruz. I can’t see most Republicans that lack my intense personal motivation to always make sure I’m the one doing the thinking for me ever being able to move past those trained associations.

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    Yes, so sensible that one wonders if it will be adopted.

    As for Elizabeth Warren: The mother of the Consumer Protection Agency. A woman who was denied being head of that agency so ran for the Senate and won. The Senator who is most effective in teaching Americans about the workings of big banks and big finance. The Senator whose concern for working and middle class Americans is second to none.
    I wouldn’t mention Ted Cruz in the same sentence with her.

    • Nicole K. says:

      I am aware you like her. I think she’s an extremist who doesn’t see the forest for the trees and enjoys her celebrity and status since coming into office. In my mind, it’s very much the same as Ted Cruz. I think extremists who think they have all the answers are dangerous no matter if they are conservative or liberal. I believe ideological purity is one of the most dangerous things preventing our government from doing what is necessary. Politics and good governing requires compromise.

      • Steve Greene says:

        Read some interviews with Warren. She’s very thoughtful and far more nuanced then given credit for. Yeah, she’s pretty liberal, but horribly unfair to remotely compare her to Cruz. Yeah, she’s on the left of the Democratic party, but her approach to politics is not at all like Cruz.

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