November 20, 2018

Democrats Sign Letter Opposing Pelosi

The holidays are just around the corner. Now’s a GREAT time to forward us to friends and family, and not let politics ruin Thanksgiving dinner!

Washington Post

“Sixteen Democrats who’ve opposed Nancy Pelosi’s quest to become speaker released a letter Monday saying they will vote for ‘new leadership’ when the House picks its leaders in January, underscoring a significant threat to her effort to lead her party’s House majority in the next Congress."

AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left supports Pelosi’s bid for speaker, touting her legislative accomplishments and progressive bona fides.

“As Democrats in the House begin the discussion of who should lead them, it is crucial they focus on the fundamental roles of Speaker of the House – to pass legislation and steer the ship through experienced oversight...

“As Speaker, Nancy Pelosi brings to the podium a wealth of experience and success… She knows how to pass bills. She knows how to steer a sometime cumbersome ship. She has worked to reach across the aisle when necessary... You change leadership when it suffers catastrophic losses, not when you win elections.”

The Hill

“Without Nancy Pelosi’s toughness, focus and legislative skill, there would probably be no Affordable Care Act. Her speakership during the Obama presidency left a legacy of achievement in other areas as well, including a far-reaching reform of Wall Street regulation and a massive economic stimulus that helped save a collapsing economy. [Furthermore] It would be hard to find a more effective fundraiser for Democrats, and she just led her party to its largest House gains since 1974...

"Oh, yes, and there is no obvious alternative to her leadership."

Washington Post

The anti-Pelosi movement is a mashup of opportunism on the part of a few wannabe leaders, such as Moulton and Ryan, combined with a dose of ageism, sexism and defensive tactical moves by a few Democrats who won in conservative districts."

Huffington Post

Many point out that “these talking points about ‘fresh blood’ and accusations that Pelosi is a ‘centrist’ seem to have convinced a number of progressive voters that ousting Pelosi and replacing her with someone new is about pulling the party to the left... [Except] not only has Pelosi consistently been in the top third of most liberal Democrats in the House... but the much-ballyhooed insurgency against her among House Democrats almost exclusively consists people who are to Pelosi's right...

“[Moreover] the person from that group who's being floated as a potential replacement for Pelosi, Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, is openly hostile to LGBTQ rights... Ousting [Pelosi would] be a blow to ordinary women and LGBTQ people whose concerns will lose priority status if the anti-Pelosi wing prevails.”


Some, however, say, “Go ahead, Democrats. Fight over Nancy Pelosi. Just get it out of your systems now, please... Members old and new need to air their grievances, hash out their differences and set a course for how the team can better function over the next two sure-to-be-bonkers years... Better to have as many of these fights as possible before the new Congress convenes in January. At that point, the caucus will need to get focused and pull together for the real fights to come."

New York Times

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right is generally critical of Pelosi, highlighting her unpopularity and lengthy tenure.

From the Right

The right is generally critical of Pelosi, highlighting her unpopularity and lengthy tenure.

“Pelosi may seem the right choice for Democrats given the dues she’s paid since losing the Speakership in 2010 – even the sentimental journey of returning the Democrats to power. But it makes zero sense for a party trying to brand itself as an agent of change and a better approach to government. Think of House Republicans [winning] control in 2022 and trusting their fate in... John Boehner (talk about ‘tanned, ready and rested’).”


Many note that “Mrs. Pelosi will have to work to secure the speakership. She’s less popular than President Trump; a Nov. 6 Economist/YouGov poll found 35% view her favorably and 55% unfavorably. An Oct. 28 Harvard-Harris poll had her even worse, at 28% to 54%. In an Oct. 28 Gallup poll, Democrats alone agreed by 56% to 39% that someone else should be elected speaker."

Wall Street Journal

The fact that Pelosi didn’t prevent a blue wave doesn’t mean she’s not toxic, it simply means she’s not as toxic as Trump and the GOP were this time. If she gets the credit for last week’s win, why doesn’t she get (some of) the blame for the previous four election cycles in which Democrats were relegated to the minority?...

“And who cares if she’s an effective legislator? She’s facing a Republican Senate and a Republican president. Nothing she passes is getting signed into law over the next two years. Democrats are better off booting her, installing a younger team, and letting them use these next two years as low-stakes on-the-job training in the hope/expectation that they’ll have total control of government after 2020.”

Hot Air

Regarding his candidacy overall, “There’s a lot of conventional wisdom in Washington that the early front-runner always loses. And that’s true except when it isn’t… in 1999, George W. Bush dominated the polls and, except for a brief scare from Senator John McCain in the New Hampshire primary, essentially cruised to victory. A key part of Bush’s early success, not just in polls but in fundraising, stemmed from the fact that he was promising a Bush restoration…

“He was offering a referendum on the incumbent president and the scandals and partisanship that defined the end of his administration. He vowed to restore ‘honor and dignity to the Oval Office’ and to be a ‘uniter not a divider.’ The very different context notwithstanding, this is pretty much Biden’s campaign message. The ideological, activist, and Twitter-obsessed base of the Democratic party may not like Biden’s pitch. But it sure looks like rank-and-file Democrats do.”
Jonah Goldberg, National Review

“Not only did [Trump] attack the ‘squad,’ he managed to do it in a way in which no other prominent Democrat can continue to criticize them publicly, lest they be perceived as echoing the president’s contention that they should go back where they came from. At the exact moment the accusations and counter-accusations were set to do lasting damage, Trump just had to jump in and give them an attack that would unify them all. It often seems like Trump would rather have a bad news cycle that focuses on him than a beneficial news cycle that focuses on someone else… Everyone around the president can read a poll and knows that his rage-tweeting is a liability; it is perhaps the biggest liability in a presidency that, with prosperity and a perception of peace, ought to be comfortably cruising to reelection.”
Jim Geraghty, National Review

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

4,000-yr-old tablet is the world’s oldest customer service complaint.

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