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Is Nancy Pelosi worth the trouble?

REUTERS/Aaron Bernstein
In the past week, some frustrated House Democrats have suggested that Pelosi step down, calling into question her leadership, the party’s agenda and even the Democratic brand.

Democrats in Congress are struggling to keep up a unified front.

Kathryn L. Pearson

As the minority party, Democrats have spent the past six months standing by, mostly powerless, as President Donald Trump has made haphazard progress toward dismantling many of former President Barack Obama’s key accomplishments.

Last week the party suffered another blow: a bitter defeat in a special election in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. That made four special elections – out of four – they have lost since Election Day in November.

These losses all occurred in Republican strongholds, but Democrats were hoping for victories that would signal dissatisfaction with Trump’s presidency and bolster their momentum. Helping the GOP win in these hard-fought elections were ads attacking House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s “San Francisco liberalism.” Looking ahead to the 2018 midterms, Pelosi’s long tenure as leader also poses a challenge to Democrats trying to make the case that they are the party of change.

As a political scientist who focuses on gender and party discipline in the House of Representatives, I have studied Pelosi’s long leadership. I think it is especially interesting to compare Speaker Paul Ryan’s recent struggle to persuade enough Republicans to support the American Health Care Act with Pelosi’s significant role in building a coalition to pass the Affordable Care Act.

In the past week, some frustrated House Democrats have suggested that Pelosi step down, calling into question her leadership, the party’s agenda and even the Democratic brand.

A defiant Pelosi reacted by calling a press conference and declaring: “I think I’m worth it.

Is she? Let’s look at her record.

Rising to power

Pelosi’s rise to power and leadership are characterized by her intense partisanship, fundraising prowess and intraparty coalition-building.

Elected to the House in 1987, she won her first leadership race as party whip in October of 2001, defeating Steny Hoyer of Maryland by a vote of 118-95. As minority leader, Pelosi established a reputation as a pragmatist who enforced party discipline.

Fast forward to the 2006 elections, with Democrats gaining 30 seats and majority party control. Taking the gavel at the start of the 110th Congress, Pelosi became the first female speaker of the House, presiding over an 84 percent male chamber.

Centralized power

Serving as speaker from 2007 to 2010, Pelosi benefited from the centralization of party leaders’ power that occurred during the previous 12 years of GOP control of the House.

As she stepped into the leadership role in 2007, Pelosi had more tools and prerogatives than her Democratic predecessors, Tip O’Neill, Jim Wright and Tom Foley. That’s because under Republican speakers Newt Gingrich and Dennis Hastert, the shift of power away from committee chairs to party leaders – a change that had been taking place since the Democratic reforms of the 1970s – picked up speed. For example, Republicans instituted six-year term limits on committee chairs in 1995 that remain in effect. Selected by a party leadership-led steering committee, Republican committee chairs are not always the most senior majority member on the committee. They are typically members who display their party loyalty with their voting records and fundraising.

As speaker, Pelosi maximized her influence, setting the legislative agenda, pursuing partisan policy initiatives and fundraising for her colleagues. As I argue in my book, “Party Discipline in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Democratic committee chairs, grateful to return to the majority, were willing to cede power to party leaders.

For the most part, Pelosi worked hard to build consensus within her party and shut Republicans out of the process. She frequently met with freshmen and more moderate and conservative Democrats to find common ground on the party agenda. Under her leadership, House Democrats voted on average with the majority of their caucus 92 percent of the time in 2007 and 2008, setting a record for party cohesion.

A different challenge

When Obama was first elected in 2008, the Democrats gained unified party control of the White House and both chambers of Congress. Pelosi had a new challenge: building coalitions to pass the president’s ambitious agenda items – like health care and financial regulatory reform – rather than the easier job of simply attacking a Republican president’s proposals.

Pelosi’s role in the passage of the Affordable Care Act can hardly be overstated.

She brought Democrats together to start the process in the House before Obama became deeply involved. Three House committees marked up the bill which Pelosi then assembled. When key House Democrats threatened to withdraw their support over disagreements related to abortion funding, Pelosi appeased them and built consensus to attract enough votes to pass the bill. And when it seemed that the House and Senate would not be able to reconcile their versions after Senate Democrats lost their 60 vote filibuster-proof majority with the election of Republican Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Pelosi’s leadership was critical in crafting and executing a complicated legislative strategy that resulted in the bill that Obama ultimately signed into law.

House Democrats were largely unified on other votes as well, with the average member voting with the majority 91 percent of the time in 2009 and 89 percent in 2010.

Backlash

But Obama’s legislative successes held a cost during the 2010 midterm elections. Democrats lost 64 seats. Republicans gained a 242 to 193 majority, their best showing since 1946.

Back in the minority, Pelosi was reelected as Democratic leader in 2011, defeating North Carolina centrist Heath Shuler by a caucus vote of 150-43. In a sign of dissatisfaction, 19 Democrats did not support her in the vote on the House floor.

The Trump era

On Jan. 3 of this year, all but four Democrats voted to reelect Pelosi as their leader for the eighth time. However, this show of Democratic unity on the House floor masked the uneasiness on display during the party’s internal contest between Pelosi and relatively unknown seven-term Democrat Tim Ryan of Ohio in late November. Pelosi prevailed, 134 to 63 – hardly a ringing endorsement.

As the 115th Congress got underway, Pelosi pledged to seek common ground with President-elect Trump on job creation, trade and support for working families. She also warned that “If there is an attempt to destroy the guarantee of Medicare, harm Medicaid, Social Security, or the Affordable Care Act, Democrats will stand our ground.”

Not surprisingly, with deep policy divides and intense competition between the parties, finding that common ground has been elusive. Without the votes to advance the Democrats’ agenda in the House, criticizing Republican policies is the best way for Pelosi to get attention.

In the upcoming midterms, Democrats will need a united front and they’ll need money to win seats in the House. They are unlikely to forget how Pelosi can draw upon her vast connections to raise record amounts. According to The New York Times, Pelosi has raised nearly US $568 million for her party since entering the House Democratic leadership in 2002. Just in the 2016 election cycle, she raised over $141 million.

Viewed through that lens, I would argue she may be “worth it.”

The ConversationYet House Democrats in swing districts may decide that it is too challenging to make the case for change with Pelosi as their leader. If Pelosi’s vote-counting history is a guide, she will know if and when that time has come.

Kathryn L. Pearson is an associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota.

This article was originally published on The Conversation

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Comments (23)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 06/30/2017 - 03:26 pm.

    She’ll have to be dragged out, kicking and screaming.

    There are plenty of others who could be effective in a leadership role. But there is a deep-seated conviction of entitlement in the upper echelons of the Democratic party, and it goes far beyond recognition and reward for past contributions.

    It makes house-cleaning and emphasis on fresh leadership nearly impossible, sorely needed now to take advantage of fresh opportunity.

    The Democrat old guard will not go willingly or quietly, and never-you-mind what would be best for the party.

    Nancy Pelosi could still be a powerhouse fund-raiser without her leadership office. But would she still be willing after enough Democrats chose for a fresh start ??

  2. Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/30/2017 - 03:51 pm.

    No

    Nancy Pelosi is very, very good at her job. I would agree with everything in the article. But she has been in long enough and accumulated enough baggage, that she is hurting Democrats electorally. It’s totally and completely unfair, but she should step down / be replaced for the good of the Party

  3. Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/30/2017 - 03:55 pm.

    If you replace Pelosi, Republicans will just pick someone else as the target. The problem hasn’t been whether Nancy Pelosi exists, it what her caucus has chose to run on as a message and how groups like the DCCC have invested the money.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 06/30/2017 - 09:57 pm.

      Nonsense

      The statement that her replacement will suffer the same treatment gets made often, but has no basis in fact. A big part of the problem with Pelosi is she has been around too long and through too many bad cycles. A fresh face and a clean break alone would provide a boost.

      • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 07/03/2017 - 08:20 pm.

        No basis in fact? Have you met the Republican Party? The party that every two years tries to claim that Collin Peterson is some sort of communist? If it’s not Nancy Pelosi, it’ll be Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warrren or Barack Obama or Chuck Schumer that will be the comparison. (Heck, if you’re talking about House members, they could still tie incumbents to Pelosi.)

  4. Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 06/30/2017 - 04:17 pm.

    William Proxmire Democrats

    The author is to young to to know about those of us in our 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s who are what I call William Proxmire Democrats. I am convinced that enough of us crossed the party lines ans got Trump elected. Why? Because for the past 8 years Obama and many Democrats would have received the Golden Fleece Award from Proxmire. The ACA might have received several. Pelosi would definitely get a couple and Hillary would get a giant one. The Dems have abandoned the old generation of their party for the new, without asking the old for permission. Unless they make many changes, we old timers will keep handing out Golden Fleece awards and crossing party lines.

    • Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 07/01/2017 - 09:11 am.

      His Golden Fleece awards (useful, though not always accurate) went to government agencies who conducted or sponsored activities he felt wasteful. As such, you could attribute them to whatever party held the presidency during his monthly award.

      We can speculate as to how he would have treated the ACA. But during Reagan’s term as President, he issued approximately 96 of his 158 awards. In fact, during that time, one went to the Executive Office of the President and one to Reagan’s inaugural committee.

  5. Submitted by Garth Taylor on 07/01/2017 - 07:30 am.

    Not a Plausible Spokesperson

    Nancy Pelosi is part of the Democratic Party mindset that has watched the decline of the middle class while giving quarter-million dollar speeches on Wall Street, trumpeting free trade agreements, and dumbing down “deplorable” dissidents. I, too, admire her strengths and past accomplishments, but she is not a plausible spokesperson (or leader) of the Party going forward, Time to exit stage left.

    • Submitted by Barry Peterson on 07/01/2017 - 10:33 pm.

      In Agreement: Ms. Pelosi’s hostile manner has been divisive

      20170701 Destructive Nancy Pelosi Must Go

      I first became interested in Democratic politics and politicians during my senior year at De La Salle High School, in 1979. My academic advisor, a very liberal Denis Wadley, who was a frequent guest editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and frequent master’s level student at Oxford University, England, got me involved with both the Carter-Mondale Presidential Campaign, and the Don Fraser Mayoral Campaign.

      Given bouts of depression and high energy, with bipolar depression and Asperger’s Syndrome those years, I was in and out of a few campaigns with both respect and happiness for my leaving the Spannaus for Governor Campaign.

      However, I stuck with politics at the precinct and senate district levels, and later became an officer of the DFL in MN senate district 59/60. I started simply by doing things to help with campaigns, not knowing the basis or the platform of the DNC or DFL. As I matured, I began to realize that big names in politics, as in business and academics, athletics, religion, and the arts and military, started out at a lower level.

      I began to pay attention to not only enacted laws, but to the personalities and wisdom, and games that politicians play. This is when I began to doubt in Nancy Pelosi’s continued value to our Party.

      My family grew up poor, but my parents became affluent through education, property investment, and professional good works. Because of the happenings around me, I began to feel very comfortable with people of extra-ordinary reputation, wealth, and character.

      While Ms. Pelosi has contributed to the greater good of our Party, her very hostile references and metaphors in her fundraising pursuits through the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (The DCCC, or, “D – Triple C”), I believe, led to intense hostilities and anger between our nation’s two most prominent political parties. This is, in part, how our congressional and administrative actors became so polarized against one another. The Tea Party Republicans were equally to blame in creating hostilities, as was the press in continuing to exploit the moronic behavior and characters of MN Sixth Congressional District Member of Congress Michelle Bachmann, and of Alaska’s failed governor, Sara Palin. Some elements of our industrial and commercial industries have also gained too much power for a healthy, clean, and peaceful national and global society.

      As someone who does not see that “all rich people” are greedy misanthropes, and having friends and acquaintances whose family fortunes run into the hundreds of millions to tens of billions of US dollars, I quickly became tired of Ms. Pelosi’s reckless and non-strategic, and undiplomatic, call-outs to educated conservatives and others who foolishly claim alliance with the extremist people using the banner, “Republican,” as their source of comfort and authority..

      Certainly, there is a time for strength and curt words, but Pelosi’s manner became so offensive to me that that I told DCCC fundraisers that until she was out of the picture, I would not commit a dime to the DCCC. The name has since changed to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee — the DLCC.

      As a former DNC VIP, I became direct with party leadership about her base manner.

      As someone who continues to develop an objective and considerate mindset, I see how Nancy can continue to assist our Party as a fundraiser and private speaker on behalf of women’s rights and healthcare, but I prefer that she do so without her classic bravado and caustic manner. She has become an embarrassment and liability.

      As one who has the double duty of moderating myself due to earlier problems associated with bipolar disorder and what was called Asperger’s Syndrome, I know that bad times do happen to good people, and that the Congresswoman may be showing signs of burnout. She needs a break — and so do we, as people who care about the reputation and strength and vitality of our Party and our generally held ideals and devotion to securing and maintaining this land as a democratic republic — not, as it has become under Mr. Trump, a land led by an inferior emperor who does not follow our U.S. Constitution and who appears adamant in destroying our middle class — whose active dollars otherwise go to enhancing our economy and way of life, for both rich and poor.

      Nancy, you have great talent, but you are on the wrong path in many ways. Please stand down for a while. Help develop other women and men who have the flavor you had before you became destructive to our Party.

      Written with respect, hope, and devotion to our ideal democracy.

  6. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 07/01/2017 - 09:02 am.

    House leadership

    To a large extent, who the minority leader is in the house is a very inside kind of a deal. It’s sort of like who is the head potted plant.The fundamental problem Democrats have now is a lack of leadership, and Ms. Pelosi’s problem is that she is just one of many Democrats in Congress and elsewhere who isn’t a solution to that problem.

  7. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 07/01/2017 - 10:30 am.

    Pelosi, Clinton, Reid, Wasserman/Schultz, et. al.

    have served their time and need to fade into the background. A Progressive agenda is beyond that group in the future. Republicans have the same problem within their upper escalon with McConnell and his cohorts but change is not an operative word for Republicans.

  8. Submitted by Barbara Boldenow on 07/01/2017 - 11:05 am.

    Well, let’s think for just a minute.

    The Democratic party is at it’s weakest in terms of state representation since 1920.
    It is at it’s weakest in the US congress since 1928.
    Obviously, they are doing something very wrong and do not want to change. She is seen and heard saying, ‘I don’t think the people want us to change’. How much more wrong can they be?
    Easy answer. She needs to go away, just like the Clinton’s.
    Neoliberalism has failed us.

  9. Submitted by Gene Nelson on 07/01/2017 - 11:21 am.

    One wonders where this Pelosi hate is coming from?

    While I have criticisms for establishment Dems in our party as they seem more of the old style repub than a real Dem, I wonder where this hate for Pelosi is coming from? It’s also interesting that there have been some repub Pacs funding this hate and misinformation…anti-Pelosi pacs.
    It is true the Dems have gotten off track, but the other choice is a repub party that seems more oligarchical than democratic, seemingly pushing programs for only their financial benefactors and not us.
    I really would love to see some things todays repub party is pushing that benefits anyone other than the wealthy elite.

  10. Submitted by Rick Prescott on 07/02/2017 - 01:21 am.

    Post-Pelosi, Please

    “Pelosi’s rise to power and leadership are characterized by her intense partisanship, fundraising prowess and intraparty coalition-building.”

    One of the lessons of recent cycles is that the country does not see the world as purely red or blue the way politicians and pundits and party base voters seem to. I can barely wrap my head around it, but I keep reading about people who voted for both Obama and Trump.

    Pelosi is living proof that hyper-partisanship is alive and well on both sides of the aisle. While blaming Republicans for this political estrangement is fashionable, it’s not entirely accurate. It takes two to tango. The Republican Party has moved sharply to the right in the past 30 years, while the Democrats have not moved farther to the left. But the Democratic response to this Republican shift has only made things worse. Pelosi is in the mix of “leaders” in both parties who must accept responsibility for creating a governing culture which simply cannot govern.

    She may have figured out how to get the Dems on board with the ACA, but it was an entirely Pyrrhic victory. Everyone knew that the bill couldn’t possibly solve the real problems of healthcare (fee for service, raw cost, middle men). The Republicans made it very clear that passage of that bill would become their war cry, and they quickly won the framing battle. And so, despite the good the ACA has done, because it has such deep flaws, that good is about to be erased. Pelosi effectively handed her political opponents the instrument of her own party’s demise. She wanted a win, and got one (who does that sound like?), and it was a slow-motion devastation for Democrats. (For what it’s worth, we may be watching the exact same dynamic playing out for the other side right now.)

    Ms. Pearson makes good points about Pelosi’s credentials, and offers an entirely plausible explanation for why she is where she is. But fundraising is not leadership. It is often the exact OPPOSITE of leadership because of what donors come to expect in return. Her approach has always said, “Help us get the power and we’ll figure out what to do with it later.” That’s about all any Dems have going as a strategy right now, and Pelosi must take at least partial responsibility for that fact.

    As such, I think she is NOT worth the trouble, and may never have been. I would have more respect for her accomplishments if she didn’t treat her opponents as enemies, and rely so heavily on the rhetoric and practice of hyper-partisanship, and constantly make the chasm between parties deeper. I would have more respect if there was any evidence of innovation in bringing progressive ideas to the table. I would have more respect for her if there was evidence that she had found ways to coax the moderates in the opposition party into working across the aisle, and maybe created a tiny crack in the Red Hegemony. These may sound impossible but surely are not.

    She is not a wise leader, and that’s the one thing our country needs now: wiser leaders.

  11. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 07/02/2017 - 10:10 am.

    The targeting of Pelosi isn’t really personal, which is why replacing her wouldn’t have much impact. Anyone in her position would come up against the same mostly generic attacks. What needs to do is to respond more effectively to the attacks, but also to get off the defensive, and more aggressively present the case for Democrats.

  12. Submitted by Brian Anderson on 07/03/2017 - 06:05 am.

    Pelosi

    K. Her time is done. All the crap folks above posted is the reason. It’s not like she won’t be there, she just won’t be the leader from SFO….I mean…strategy people. Get her out…but still let her make the calls…do the visits (where appropriate). This is my beef with D…they don’t think strategically and all country. Well..some did…and that’s how we got 2008.

  13. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/03/2017 - 12:48 pm.

    I’m surprised to see such agreement

    We have a pretty diverse group of Democrats here all expressing the same opinion, Pelosi must go. I agree with all these comments and would only add that it’s a continuing sign of elite complacency that seems to be keeping a failed leadership in place. I don’t know how Democrats can suffer such a bizarre and catastrophic loss and not realize that their leadership is defunct?

    It’s not about partisanship, it’s about engineering and fighting for a popular liberal/progressive agenda. Too many Democrats still just don’t seem to get that.

  14. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 07/04/2017 - 11:25 am.

    The problem I see with Pelosi is “party above principle”

    For example, where was she when 39.2% of House Democrats voted FOR George W. Bush’s disastrous Iraq War Resolution and thus approved of the war that has added literal trillions to the U.S. deficit? Where were her vaunted organizing skills then?

    Where were her principles when she said that “impeachment was off the table” for the war crimes–yes, war crimes, according to the principles established at the Nuremberg Trials– committed by the Bush administration?

    Where was she when the Progressive Caucus, the group she supposedly belongs to, advocated for single-payer health care and she browbeat them (as Obama and her counterparts in the Senate did) into accepting the flawed and overly complicated ACA instead of browbeating the holdouts into accepting single-payer? The argument was “Obama needs a victory,” but what kind of victory was it other than guaranteeing a captive customer base for the insurance companies and removing a few bad insurance practices without REALLY reining the companies in, as Germany and Switzerland do?

    The Democratic leadership in general have been playing defense rather than offense since the Reagan era, letting the Republicans set the agenda and reacting to it, often with a defeatist attitude. “We can’t make any proposals, because we don’t have control of Congress.” “Yes, we control the Senate, but we don’t control the House.” “Yes, we control Congress, but not the White House.” “Yes, we control Congress and the White House, but there are seven Senators who refuse to vote for single payer.”

    I wish the Democrats would adapt the British practice of naming a shadow government to our different circumstances (the party leader does not automatically or even normally become president in our system), naming potential candidates for Cabinet posts and having them make frequent statements on policy, not only criticizing what the Republicans are up to but also articulating what the Democrats would do differently in clear, concise, plain English, not in the Wonkese that they are so fond of.

    Bernie Sanders winning 22 primaries, including Michigan, Iowa, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, should have been a warning that the public was fed up with neoliberalism and with policies that favor wealthy contributors instead of ordinary people. While most stalwart Democrats understood the realities of politics and voted for Hillary Clinton, whether eagerly or reluctantly, the less informed independents either stayed home (Ms. Clinton received fewer votes than Obama in the states she lost) or voted for Trump or third-party candidates out of anger.

    Nancy Pelosi seems oblivious to these facts, as does the Democratic Party in general. On a national level, it has re-elected much of the same-old/same-old to positions of authority, with the exception of Keith Ellison, and in Minnesota, it has re-elected the team that lost the legislature.

    I want the Democrats to rediscover their roots and do what needs to be done for the ordinary people of this country

  15. Submitted by Stan Hooper on 07/04/2017 - 05:35 pm.

    Does Money Acquisition Make a Difference Any More?

    My only comment is that if she is a fantastic fund raiser in an era where funds don’t get the direct bang for the buck that they once did, why adhere to Pelosi? There is something else afoot that means more to the voters than money’s weakening power.

  16. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 07/05/2017 - 08:38 am.

    The arrogance..

    The arrogance of:
    “I’m worth the trouble”
    Tells it all. She regards herself as indispensable to the process even after 15 plus years in power.
    Has she not groomed successors in this time?
    Her legacy should be her accomplishments as Speaker and a team of new leaders to carry on after her.

    I remain dumbfounded by aging politicians and their inability to let go.
    Look at almost every other area of occupational endeavor: teaching, engineering, medicine, business management, technical trades: all make demands on their practitioners that make 75 to 80 year-old and beyond folks simply unable to meet their occupational duties.
    Consider an 85 year old Senator: They are all basically old shells of what was originally elected, staffing out their responsibilities and feeding their egos to the very end.

    The same can apparently be said for a certain 70 something President…

  17. Submitted by Bob Petersen on 07/06/2017 - 08:22 am.

    Telling

    This article and the comment string is very telling on the status of those that support the Democratic party. Pelosi has always been a caustic figure who has the comfort of a safe population where she can motivate people. She is highly tied to liberal, wealthy elite so there is no surprise at her fundraising abilities. But there is almost no mention of what she stands for, an ever increasing uber progressive shift to the left that most of our country despises. This is the modern leadership of the Democrat party. Their power is everything to them and the leadership does things to ensure party loyalty and to follow their commands. Pelosi garnered loyalty for the ACA through sheer force, something which some above state the GOP is well known to do. Pelosi stated several times for Congress to just vote on the ACA and not read the entire 1,000+ page bill only to find out what it does after – it doesn’t matter that the financials behind the ACA were fraudulent and millions of people were dumped into Medicare that should not have been creating the largest failed monstrosity our country has ever faced. That’s not leadership.
    Then add the former leader of the DNC who actively worked with others within the Democrat party to lampoon Bernie Sanders. That’s not leadership.
    Now the DNC is being run by Perez and Ellison, both far left progressives plus Ellison also in a safe district like Pelosi is. Which direction do you think they want the Democrat party?
    Yes, the GOP are not angels. But that’s the politics and we have a president, like him or not, who is willing to stand up and throw punches back instead of just take them at will as Democrats have always done no matter which Republican has been president. but still, even as this article states and many of you state, the current president seems to be the cause of the evils of our country, even ‘dismantling’ many of Obama’s initiatives. Ever think that most of what Obama did was bad for our country? The space between the wealthy and the poor increased at frightening numbers, the number of people on welfare at record numbers, the shrinking of the middle class, labor participation at lowest levels in decades, the constant war with companies to follow ever increasing regulations and red tape instead of boosting them to hire people, and let’s not forget the doubling of the national debt that these achievements have caused. Of course they need to be dismantled because it’s ruining our country and someone has to correct it.
    Say what you want of Pelosi. Just removing her and replacing her with someone else that Democratic leadership will want will just bring more of the same, where the constant shift in elections of all levels are going away from the Democrat party.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 07/06/2017 - 11:01 am.

      Uber progressive?

      “But there is almost no mention of what she stands for, an ever increasing uber progressive shift to the left that most of our country despises.”

      Pelosi is neoliberal centrist. Yes she’s tied to the elite, but it’s an elite that has largely functioned as a firewall against progressive or even liberal policies. And no, the country doesn’t “despise” liberal agendas, the country is frustrated by the failure of neoliberal policies and “centrism” or moderation that blocks progress. Both parties have completely failed to address the biggest problems the vast majority of Americans have been facing for decades, and election results are a product of desperation, not Republican popularity.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 07/10/2017 - 11:17 am.

        Yes, a little known fact

        Pelosi is tied to the type of “liberal” who says, “I’m a social liberal but a fiscal conservative.”

        What this means in plain English is, “I’m not personally prejudiced against any ethnic group or religion, and I don’t believe in interfering in people’s private lives, but I’m against anything that will raise my taxes or reduce the value of my investment portfolio, so I’m a Republican when it comes to economic issues, but I will phrase it in terms of concern for the poor.” They are the ones who are turning San Francisco into a gated community for the wealthy with homeless people on the sidewalk. They’ll give lip service to concern for the homeless, but will fight the construction of low-income housing or even workforce housing in their neighborhoods.

        That’s the opposite of someone like the late Jim Oberstar in northern Minnesota or the still-alive Peter DeFazio in southern Oregon. Their tactic has been to appease the social sensibilities of their constituencies by voting against abortion (Oberstar) or gun control (DeFazio) while espousing economic policies that benefit ordinary working Americans and anti-interventionist foreign policies.

        When I was growing up, we called the socially liberal but fiscally conservative people “liberal Republicans,” but that label has become poison since the greedy and callous began taking over the G.O.P. and selling it to the mean and dumb, so the former liberal Republicans have invaded the Democratic Party and remade it in their own image.

        Far from being “far left,” the current Democratic Party Establishment is to the left of Nixon by any objective measure.

        This has left the real Left segment of the population, those of us who believe that we need a New New Deal to counteract economic despair and injustice, politically homeless, since our system realistically allows for only two parties at once.

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