Pelosi Will Be More Effective As Minority Leader
November 6, 2010
(ChattahBox Op/Ed) – Will she stay or will she go? Soon to be Minority Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, if elected, has a terribly difficult task before her, but before I get ahead of myself let’s look at whether or not she will even be in the mix to lead the Democratic Minority in the House for the 112th Congress.
There is no question that the Republican leadership from almost day one of her ascension to the leadership post in 2006 as House Majority Leader has given her little to no room for error, but that would be true of anyone who has that role regardless of sex. Pelosi has also, from day one, been front I and center in mixing it up. She has been a true liberal and has been the darling of progressives who until 2006 and never had a leader they could call their own; Pelosi has made them very happy, if not for a few compromises here and there.
Speaker Pelosi is a fund raising machine. She is tough as nails and is unafraid to take positions that most would shy away from. She is from a Congressional district that supports her point of view and was allowed to lead as Speaker without fear of retribution from her district. That is a huge plus in her position. There are very few members of Congress that when running for reelection actually don’t have to do anything but say they are running and it’s done. Pelosi enjoys that freedom.
Pelosi has also been somewhat arrogant and not as productive as she might have been in helping to change some critical congressional rules and by providing more transparency, as she promised, on how government works. But, the critical question at hand is does minority Speaker Pelosi have the gravitas and institutional support to turn around a rudderless Democratic ship?
I can take away some of the drama up front. Although there is some noise about replacing Pelosi, it won’t happen. President Obama, who will not get into a public discourse about this, is publically stating that he appreciates Pelosi’s support of his agenda. His hands are tied. And, if Obama wants her gone there is no safe way to communicate that. This is one of those situations where even the appearance of wanting change would be political craziness, something he doesn’t need at any level.
What Pelosi does bring to the table better than anyone else is an institutional understanding that will be valuable to the gridlock that is about to become business as usual. She will be front and center on the war on ideology and her ability to direct resources where they are most needed are fundamental to Democrats not being pushed around.
Keep in mind, Democrats will no longer be directing traffic in the House and Pelosi as the House police will need all the strength she already has to fight the insanity that is surely headed our way.
Moderate and conservative Democrat’s want her gone, but they never wanted her there. Those that are positioning themselves as the next in line have too moderate a background to differentiate themselves from the pack. Democratic Representative Health Schuler from North Carolina has expressed interest in running against Pelosi. Schuler, who was initially elected to House in 2006, doesn’t have the coalition built to take her on and is too conservative for the majority of the Democratic Party. His effort is more about him trying to elevate himself as opposed to his colleagues prompting him to run for his leadership skills.
The political shell game is in order. Republican’s want Pelosi to stay. They feel they effectively used her to win an historic amount of seats. I don’t buy it. Both Pelosi and Senate leader Harry Reid won reelection by their constituents. They will both win reelection to their leadership roles, but what they now both must do is rediscover their voices and start delivering the message of truth to help strengthen and upend the Republican Lie Machine.
Can they do it? I would suggest yes, but with a different strategy, and this is something that is clear from Tuesday’s election.
Nancy Pelosi will be the House Minority Speaker. She will lead effectively and will craft a message that will resonate with the electorate. I believe that with all my heart. Not because I am a blind liberal and it’s what I want to believe, it is because once the Republican leadership begins their attempt to undo what was just done, the insanity of that will become very clear to the American people and they will turn to Pelosi for the explanation and without the pressure of having to drive the bus, she will be the effective communicator I know her to be.
I know many of you won’t see the clarity in this that I do, but you will soon enough. What John Boehner has done by winning is a gift for the Democratic Party. Democrats have historically been better at message and nurturing than the Republican’s, and as we move forward over the first six months of the 112th Congress, it will be Nancy Pelosi that will be standing there telling the American people, I told you so.
Maybe I was wrong when I wrote the other day that politics doesn’t do well with addition by subtraction, because in this case, it just might be true.