I admire Nancy Pelosi. When we needed someone to find the votes and stiffen the resolve, she managed to “get ‘ur done.” That’s no mean feat.
Yes, she helped the Dems accomplish a lot. But at what price? I just wished the pressure on her would come from the left.
While she won a lot of battles, she lost ground in the larger war. (The irony here is, of course, that the GOP won the election because of its accusation that the Dems weren’t focused enough on creating jobs; and now we’re focused on the deficit?!)
Yesterday’s come-to-Jesus (in Dem parlance, that’s “approach the altar of vague spirituality, careful not to offend”) caucus meeting was, as Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., dutifully called it—I think they nominate someone each time they have a meeting like this to say this: “cathartic.”
"It’s what the Democratic Party’s about," he said. "There are ideological differences, there are regional differences, and it was a good thing for people to be able to talk through that."
But the Dems, as usual, can’t even articulate what it is they don’t like about her.
[A] number of rank-and-file Democrats, including some left of center, are dismayed. They note that dozens of Republican House candidates ran campaigns linking their Democratic opponents to Pelosi, who was portrayed as a hardcore liberal hopelessly out of touch with middle American values.
"She definitely hurts," said Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., who lost his re-election bid this month. Citing former Republican House leader Tom DeLay, Taylor said in an interview: "When he realized he was a drag on leadership, he went away. Somehow the Democratic leadership didn’t learn that lesson."
She “hurts” because the GOP said so. Of course, who among them defended her during their campaigns? At least, some Dems recognize the problem.
"One thing the Republicans are very good at: They set goals, they set objectives and they set a way to get there," Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., told reporters.
And that’s why Pelosi must go. What she did was get through a series of bills, but with apparently little thought to an overall strategy to leverage that success at the polls. Now you might argue that that’s not her chief responsibility. Yes, much of this should come from Obama himself. But she, being much more experienced at the job of legislating and politicking than the president, should have recognized the vacuum at the top and filled it. And she may not be capable of that.
Let’s face it (and I’ll be accused of sexism here) even if she could develop a strategy, she would not be the one to give voice to it. Being the leader of her party in the House, she is the one called upon by reporters. She is not a good speaker, She halting. She’s harsh.
(Yes, she looks harsh, too. But Boehner suffers from his orange look, and I think Eric Cantor does, too. He looks like a cross between Buddy Holly and that dorky geography whiz in middle school whose voice always sounds like he’s saying, “I’m smarter than everyone else.”)
But most importantly she can’t be the spokesperson for progressive causes. She lacks humor. She doesn’t handle herself well in interviews. In a word, she’s just like the president. They both sound hesitant, as if they’re trying very hard to make you believe what they’re saying…because they’re not sure they do.
The problem is, who on the Democratic side is? I open the floor for nominations because I can’t think of an articulate progressive voice in Congress who could lead the party.
Well, at least all was not lost for the Dems in their hour of angst.
Pelosi pronounced Tuesday’s long session "wonderful," then hurried past reporters.