Nancy Pelosi Albatross Or Hero?
By Joe Guzzardi
To some Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems invulnerable. This year, two Pelosi events that would shame average Americans, and cost them their jobs, were like water off a duck’s back.
First, Pelosi foolishly and brazenly ripped up President Trump’s State of the Union address, which some asserted broke the Federal Records Act. Second, Pelosi was caught mask-less at a San Francisco hair salon. In-person hairstyling violates San Francisco’s COVID-19 safety policy, a crime. Nevertheless, throughout it all, the 80-year-old Pelosi kept her $223,000 a year job, buttressed by her bulging stock portfolio, that contributes to her $114 million net worth, all while the salon’s near-bankrupt owner closed her doors after 15 successful years.
The two incidents represent unprofessional, haughty bad messaging from Pelosi, and are part of the reason so many Democrats are quixotically plotting to remove her as Speaker, a position she’s held twice during nonconsecutive termsfrom 2007 to 2011, and again from 2019 to today.
After the Election Day smoke cleared, Pelosi, who had boasted that the House would gain at least 20 seats, witnessed instead lost representation. Pelosi, say many critics, is solely to blame.
Ross Baker, a Rutgers University political science professor, said that House Democrats who lost their seats wondered why Pelosi, with the November 3 election just days away, wouldn’t compromise with President Trump on a COVID-19 relief bill. Baker pointed out that even though a compromise would appear to give President Trump a victory, an imperfect bill that the representatives could have taken back to their constituents would have been better than nothing.
As events unfolded, Pelosi’s defiance and bad karma – at least outside of San Francisco and other ultra-progressive hubs – resulted in the loss of seven incumbent seats to Republicans with potentially more to come when the final tally is in. To Pelosi’s detractors, the gap between a projected 20-seat win and the real world seven seats lost to Republicans is unacceptable.
But the harsh reality is that Pelosi isn’t going anywhere. Pelosi is a prolific fundraiser for her Democratic allies. After nearly two decades in leadership, Pelosi is on target to raise about $1 billion for her party – an eye-popping sum. This election cycle Pelosi raised $227.9 million for Democrats – most of it for the House campaign arm – but she also redirected $4 million for Biden from an August event and sent nearly $5 million to the state parties.
If nothing else, Pelosi is a savvy political operator who has built her three-decade long House career around correctly reading the tea leaves. In the November 3 election Pelosi, as she always does, crushed with nearly 80 percent of the total votes cast for her over House opponent and fellow Democrat, Shahid Buttar. Pelosi’s election campaign strategy is, to say the least, unorthodox. Since her first 1987 campaign Pelosi, a virtual shoo-in, has steadfastly refused to debate Republicans, Green Party members and progressives like Buttar. Not only won’t Pelosi face opposition candidates, but her staff refuse to answer questions about why the speaker won’t engage.
Should the Democratic House caucus vote to remove Pelosi, and many insiders think she can’t garner the necessary support, the leading candidate to replace her is, say those purportedly in the know, New York’s Hakeem Jeffries, House Democratic Caucus chair.
From the perspective of Americans who oppose amnesty, open borders, entitlements to illegal immigrants, fewer employment-based visas, sensible refugee and asylee programs, Jeffries has the identical nation-busting vision as Pelosi. Since 2013 when Jeffries was first elected, in his 77 immigration-related votes, he came down in favor of more immigration and more affirmative benefits to illegal immigrants 99 percent of the time.
As strange as it sounds, pro-enforcement Americans, which polls show are in the majority, might be better off with the polarizing Pelosi. While Jeffries is obscure, the mere mention of Pelosi’s name raises the hackles of moderate Democrats, and could lead in 2022 to the GOP regaining the House majority.
Joe Guzzardi is a Progressives for Immigration Reform analyst who has written about immigration for more than 30 years. Joe lives in Pittsburgh. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.