For years Congressional Democrats have been griping in public and private about former Speaker, turned Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi. The San Francisco Democrat makes a predictable villain for Republicans, and is largely reviled outside of the coastal blue enclaves long dominated by the Democratic Party in the modern political era. But Pelosi brings in a boatload of cash, and she is a cunning and persuasive politician.
Now, in a sign of how badly the Democrats are in disarray despite recently retaking the House of Representatives, 17 Democrats have pledged to vote against her, but no one is prepared to mount a bid to challenge her for the speakership. This paucity of credible challengers speaks volumes about the incredible weight carried by seniority.
The bungled anti-Pelosi operation is currently displaying equal parts incompetence and cowardice, while Pelosi is furiously trying to beat back the dissent in the ranks with carrots, rather than sticks.
In some sense, it is a fool’s errand. It is widely believed that Pelosi, will be speaker come January. Even so, the preposterous strategy of a few independent-minded Democrats who are not sucking on the Pelosi teat, is beyond laughable.
They have actually publicly formulated a strategy that goes something like this: “For now…it is sufficient for us to ensure that she does not get the 218 votes that she needs to be speaker. Once that happens, it will be a major embarrassment for her, and THEN we can start to worry about coming up with a name to credibly oppose her.”
Good luck with that. Originally, Representative Marcia Fudge’s (D-OH) name was floated, but six days ago she withdrew herself from consideration, and backed Pelosi. Those must be some pretty large and sweet carrots that Nancy is dispensing around the corridors of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Right now, we have Representatives Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH), leading the charge, and speaking for the coalition of 17 Democrats who say they will oppose Pelosi in January.
Polling shows that Democrats are relatively split on the proposition of returning Pelosi to the top position in the House: 49% want Nancy back, 40% are opposed, and 10% don’t know.
Seth Moulton, who has made a national name for himself by encouraging the Democrat caucus to consider new leadership, recently felt some backlash for his Pelosi opposition on his home turf, when a crowd turned out at a town hall meeting in Amesbury, Massachusetts to condemn him for dissent in the ranks. It’s also a debate that has been tinged with allegations of gender discrimination.
Moulton, who has skyrocketed out of relative obscurity to become a household political name, strongly rebukes those allegations: “This debate is not about men against women, young against old or progressives against centrists…It’s about whether we’re strong enough as a party to value the leaders who got us here while empowering the new voices and the emerging leaders who can get us to where we need to go. I believe we are.”
One local Democratic Party official, however, begged to differ, arguing, “His effort to go after Nancy at this point feels very sexist and ageist.”
That is par for the course for the snowflakes and social justice warriors that run the Democratic Party these days: if a male representative is trying to withhold the speakership from Pelosi, a woman, it must be because of sexism, of course.
Regardless, if Moulton, Ryan, and friends actually want to have a legitimate shot of injecting the party with fresh blood, they better come up with a name, and fast.
You can’t beat somebody with nobody. And attempting to do so is a fool’s errand.