November 18, 2022

Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she will not seek a leadership position in the new Congress, ending a historic run as the first woman with the gavel… [Pelosi] said she would remain in Congress as the representative from San Francisco, a position she has held for 35 years.” AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left praises the policies Pelosi advanced as Democratic leader.

Her legislative triumphs, spanning four presidencies, are monumental. They begin with the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s most important achievement. Pelosi had to bring along a caucus that wanted more comprehensive legislation that would cover all uninsured Americans rather than just many of them. She persuaded House Democrats to accept the best possible bill that the Senate would also pass…

“She got the House to pass the $787 billion 2008 stimulus bill; the Dodd-Frank legislation reforming Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act attacking pay discrimination against women; and the repeal of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy… Last year, under President Biden — and working with the slimmest of majorities — Pelosi shepherded through the House a $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief package, a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill that had been talked about for more than a decade; and the Inflation Reduction Act.”

Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

“Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee, a member of Democrats’ whip team, told reporters Tuesday a story from when Pelosi was minority leader and Paul Ryan was speaker. It was during the water crisis in Flint, which Kildee represents. ‘I still remember her calling me into [her] office from the floor, and getting on the phone with Paul Ryan, who was the speaker, and working it out for me to negotiate directly with Paul on Flint recovery,’ Kildee said…  

“She told Ryan she could deliver the Democratic votes he needed to pass a spending bill in return for him funding one of their priorities, and sent Kildee to Ryan’s office. ‘And so, over the course of a couple hours,’ he said, ‘we worked out the Flint water crisis support, which was not widely supported by Republicans at the time.’ God knows how many stories there are like this from Pelosi’s tenure.”

Jim Newell, Slate

“When John Boehner took over as speaker in 2011, he’d already been the No. 2 person in the Republican leadership. When he stepped aside in 2015 he was replaced by Paul Ryan, the main architect of Boehner-era GOP policy priorities and a former vice presidential candidate. When Ryan, in turn, stepped down in 2019, he was replaced as GOP leader by Kevin McCarthy, who’d been the No. 2 guy under both Ryan and Boehner…

“[By contrast] Representative Hakeem Jeffries, though seen for years as the heir apparent, is the fourth-ranking House Democrat — not No. 2 — and has never chaired a committee… House Democrats ought to put in place structural reforms to ensure that more members Jeffries’ age will have the ability to take on more substantive responsibility before reaching the top ranks of leadership.”

Matthew Yglesias, Bloomberg

From the Right

The right recognizes Pelosi’s success in unifying her caucus but is critical of the policies she advanced.

The right recognizes Pelosi’s success in unifying her caucus but is critical of the policies she advanced.

“Pelosi has for the most part been a highly effective House caucus leader, from whom Republicans could learn important lessons about ruthlessness, party discipline, and how to set priorities. One of the most striking features of Pelosi’s tenure has been her ability, time and time again, to get moderate members of her caucus to vote for things that cost them their jobs (Obamacare being the most famous example)…

“House Democrats throughout her tenure have played to maximize the success of the team: When out of power, they relax their ideological litmus tests in order to elect moderate-sounding people in swing districts, and when in power, they get those people to vote for progressive policy priorities knowing full well that this is not what their constituents want. But it’s what Nancy Pelosi wanted. That’s political hardball. It’s why Pelosi became speaker twice, why she got things done for two Democratic presidents in the role, and why she has twice now found herself losing the majority.”

Dan McLaughlin, National Review

“As liberal as Pelosi’s record was… she also had a pragmatic streak and attempted to walk the more radical elements of her party back from the ledge. During the Bush era, she fought back efforts by progressives to ‘defund’ the Iraq War, fearing that it would backfire by making Democrats come off as anti-troop. During the Obamacare fight, she helped persuade progressives to vote for a final version of the bill that did not include a public option…

“Nancy Pelosi is a liberal who advanced liberal policies, but relatively speaking, she was also more pragmatic than the younger, more extreme elements within the party. Though we don’t mourn her stepping down, without her at the helm, Democrats may have even fewer guardrails to prevent the party’s continued leftward drift.”

The Editors, National Review

Traditionally, defeated Speakers usually leave Congress, but Pelosi herself had already been an exception to that rule. She lost the gavel in the 2010 midterms, and failed to regain it in three subsequent national elections, including the one in which Barack Obama narrowly won re-election to the presidency. She regained it in the 2018 midterms, but then managed to be the first Speaker in long memory to lose seats while her party elected a new president. As Speaker, Pelosi will go out with a won-loss record in elections of 4-6…

“That’s not exactly a great record for an ‘emeritus’ standing. However, Pelosi raises tons of money for other House Democrats, and if she assumes that role, she likely will continue to control campaign cash, or at least influence its direction… A diplomatic post in Rome might be a great lark, but it will end Pelosi’s ability to control outcomes in the House.”

Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

On the bright side...

Get troll-free political news.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.