Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was once considered a hardcore progressive. Today, she’s the center-left moderate when compared to the likes of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib. She’s even to the right of just about every Democrat running for president. This doesn’t represent a change in her perspectives. It represents the leftist shift of her party within an atmosphere of Trump-driven sentiment.
Democrats hate the President so much, many of them have gone further to the left than he is to the right in response. But Pelosi has remained consistent even if the scale has moved around her.
In an interview with Maureen Dowd for the NY Times, Pelosi took shots at the usual suspects: President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and even threw in a jab at Ronald Reagan for good measure. But she was also dismissive of the “crew” of freshman Congresswomen who have been helping to drive the Democratic narrative far to the left. They criticized her for retreating on her border bill after the Senate passed one with fewer progressive aspects. But as Pelosi noted, the four radical progressives didn’t even vote in favor of Pelosi’s more migrant-friendly bill, so their complaints after the fact held no weight.
While noting this, she addressed their “power” with the irreverence of someone who doesn’t even recognize their challenges as a blip on her radar.
Pelosi feels that the four made themselves irrelevant to the process by voting against “our bill,” as she put it, which she felt was the strongest one she could get. “All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” she said. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got.”
She’s correct in asserting that they only represent four votes, but she’s wrong to disregard them as not having any following. Even many of the Democratic candidates are following them to some extent. Most are talking about “concentration camps,” decriminalizing illegal border crossings, and the Green New Deal, ideas that didn’t exist before the crew started talking about them. These four Congresswomen, particularly AOC, are thought leaders for a party that hasn’t truly rallied around anything other than Obamacare in the last three decades.
But Pelosi’s focus is on the great unifying rallying cry for Democrats: “Beat Trump.” Most Democratic voters would open up more detention centers, build a border wall, and abandon the Green New Deal forever if doing so would guarantee someone other than President Trump in the Oval Office before February, 2021. Pelosi knows this, which is why she’s playing her cards with only two goals in mind, beating the President and retaining control of the House. If they can take over the Senate as well, that’s the cherry on top for Pelosi.
As for the rest, it’s all just details to Pelosi. She doesn’t deal with details. She deals with power and retaining it supersedes all other considerations in her mind.
The Speaker is correct in putting the radical progressive freshmen in their places. I’ve never rooted for her in any of her efforts, but if she can help rid us of AOC, Omar, Tlaib, Pressley, and the Justice Democrats, I’ll start a slow clap for her.
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