WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 03: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a press conference October 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Congressional Democrats and Republicans remain gridlocked on funding appropriations for the federal government as the shutdown enters its third day. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
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THE PELOSI PROBLEM

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As the reality of the Democratic loss in Georgia’s Special Election sets in, the party is clumsily working through the stages of grief. After the traumatic defeat, Democrats were largely in denial that the party was, in any way responsible for the loss of Jon Ossoff. In the immediate aftermath of the defeat, party loyalists argued that the seat was a long-shot anyway and ruled that Jon Ossoff’s loss was due to the triumph of local politics. Since the early phase of denial, the Democrats have sped through the remaining four stages, moving beyond acceptance and into a newly invented phase. BLAME! The loss of Ossoff must be the sole responsibility of some poor, unpopular soul. A consensus is forming that former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should be the unfortunately-condemned spirit. The argument is largely being pitched by the same cast of ambitious characters that attempted an earlier coup against the former speaker but that does not mean that their claim does not have merit. Ohio Representative Tim Ryan charges that Pelosi is so reviled on the right that she was a weight around Jon Ossoff’s neck. His sedition prone followers see Pelosi as a nationwide bad luck charm. Republicans merely mention her name, tie Democratic candidates to the San Francisco elite and cruise to victory. Such is the hate for Nancy Pelosi. However, this conclusion represents two of the defeatist tendencies of the Democratic Party. In the recent past the Democrats have tended towards both overly simplistic explanations for their failures and a tendency to be cowed in the face of fierce opposers. The introspection averse powers in the party refuse to consider the more complex questions like perhaps Jon Ossoff needed to stand firm on a posture for or against President Trump. This question would require a deep dive into strategy and a level of rigorous reconsideration to which some of the party’s simpler minds are unaccustomed. Perhaps Jon Ossoff simply failed to define himself in terms of policy and principles which means that party officials would need to pour over his media campaigns and audit successful messaging and failed themes. But that would be hard. It is much simpler to see a single woman in San Francisco as all that ails the party. Instead of re-assessing the party’s approach to organizing and campaigning which would require an invasive autopsy, these Democrats would rather believe that all they need to do to find a path back to victory is replace a single hated party figure. It’s that simple. The Democrats love easy answers and that refusal to consider the complexity of their current quandary is condemning the party to a fatal repetition of errors. The consequences of this refusal to analyse is that Democrats haven’t even asked themselves how Nancy Pelosi became the hated figure that she is today. Nancy Pelosi is one of the most successful House Speakers in American history. She ushered through complex healthcare reform, in the face of historic opposition to the nation’s first African American President. Her mastery of strategy bested every legislative foe in her path and for that she became the focus of right wing anger. Any effective Democratic leader would likely be targeted with the same messaging that has decimated Pelosi’s national reputation. Replacing Nancy Pelosi is a solution that is temporary, lasting only as long as it will take for the conservative phalanx of talk radio, fox news and Breitbart websites to create a narrative about the next Democratic leader. Instead of an in-depth discussion on how Democrats can defeat the message machine of the right wing, some Democrats would rather exile one of their own, and bend to the will of their opponents. And this tendency to bow to those that oppose you explains a great deal about Democratic losses. Kick a stallion and it will buck back, bash the mule and it simply accepts the beating. Getting rid of Nancy Pelosi will not fix the party’s popularity problem. Tim Ryan, the leader of the current mutiny claimed in an interview with CNN that one of his Republican colleagues informed him that Pelosi was hurting the Democratic cause and the congressman sees nothing ironic or ignorant about taking political advice from his opponents. This timidity and gullibility in Democrats is just as responsible for Democratic failure as Pelosi’s reputation.

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