Sunday, February 02, 2014

Mighty Nancy has struck out.

Nancy Pelosi strikes out on The Daily Show
"Maybe I should ask the House Minority Leader." 
Nancy Pelosi is my representative in Congress. Consistent with my divided government preference, I voted for her and supported other Democratic candidates nationally in the 2006 mid-terms. For the exact same reason (preference for divided government), I voted against her and supported Republican candidates nationally in 2010.  Over the years I've had some good things to say about her, and some bad things. Your mileage may vary.

Lately I've begun to wonder how much longer she'll be my representative in Congress. Despite her defiant pronouncement that her "work is not finished" the retirement of two of her long standing allies in the House have fueled speculation about her future.  

This the latest of several problems that dogged the ex-Speaker of the House last week:

Politico: Nancy Pelosi’s tough times
For House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the bad news keeps piling up... National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) called Waxman’s retirement a “clear indication … that the House Democrats don’t think they’re going to be wielding the gavels next time.”... Pelosi was even forced to deny rumors on Thursday that she too was retiring. More than a dozen Democrats called her personally to find out what was going on after a story speculated she might step down... The fact that Pelosi has to take time to swat this kind of speculation shows how bad things have gotten for House Democrats in the past few weeks... Pelosi, for her part, isn't losing faith that victory in November is possible... Pelosi, though, has been far too optimistic in the past."
Yes, yes she has been a bit too optimistic...
"Our members left Congress last night very confident that they would return in the majority...we intend to have a majority in the Congress after November... And we will come back, and we’ll be preparing for a Democratic majority. I — I wouldn't say that if I didn't believe it was so..."
Nancy Pelosi in 2012:
"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is predicting that Democrats will recapture the House in November, a move that could open the possibility of the San Francisco Democrat regaining the speakership and becoming the first politician to return to that office after a defeat since Texas Democrat Sam Rayburn in 1955."
One thing is certain, if Nancy Pelosi is running again in this district she's going back to Congress as my representative. California's 12th is as safe as a district gets. But when she returns to Washington D.C. it will be as the minority leader who failed in three consecutive elections to retake the majority in the House of Representatives for Democrats. Strike three.

How could her minority leadership not be challenged by the Democrats in the House? With her senior policy advisers and supporters retired, there has to be an appetite for fresh blood and new leadership that does not carry the substantial political baggage of Nancy Pelosi. Traditionally she has been a rain-maker of political campaign funding for House Democrats, but this cycle even that benefit may be limited as big donors focus on the Senate at the expense of the House.

Stewart was trying to have a sincere conversation about how to improve government services given the public failure of the the ACA website and VA backlog. His basic point to Pelosi was simple:  The progressive vision they share of big benevolent government programs was undermined by what any casual observer would identify as a systemic government problem with competent execution of those programs.  He tried to get her to say anything except "It's the Republicans fault."  She wouldn't or couldn't do it. It was embarrassing to watch, and damning for Pelosi. It reinforced all the worst stereotypes about her from the right as an out of touch, inept, insincere, and incompetent partisan hack. 

Her performance was fodder for friend and foe alike:
Brutal. When Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House, she advised her Democratic Party members to not go on the Daily Show or Colbert Report lest they embarrass the party. She should have taken her own advice.

And House Democrats should start thinking about giving someone else a turn at bat.

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