Democrats owe Pelosi the chance to be Speaker. Their plot to deny her of it is foolish.
Although they would deny it, the effort by a number of House Democrats to block Rep. Nancy Pelosi from resuming the speakership that she was forced to relinquish after the 2010 election, bears a resemblance to the acceptance, by some Americans, of the anti-Hillary Clinton narrative peddled on social media by Russian trolls in 2016. In the case of Pelosi, the hostile power that launched the demonization of the Democratic leader was the Republican Party.
GOP campaign organizations dug a rabbit hole that some Democrats eagerly dived into. These Democratic back-benchers in the House who have been mounting a challenge to Pelosi have bought into this grotesque GOP narrative on her and it has soured the growing Democratic majority that has been unfolding since November 6.
Democrats forcing Pelosi from the speakership would be akin to Abraham Lincoln firing General William T. Sherman after he captured the city of Atlanta from the Confederates based on false rebel narratives of atrocities even though the fall of the city enabled Lincoln to win the election of 1864.
Dems owe Pelosi for her legislative victory
Cashiering the author of a major political victory is an act of legislative malpractice and those promoting it like Reps. Seth Moulton and Tim Ryan ought to be disbarred. Sadly, a number of newly-elected Democratic members also promised to toss Pelosi over the side and now have to confront the fact that there is no plausible candidate to replace her. They are in the untenable position of trying to beat somebody with nobody, and worse, making it their first order of business.
The campaign against Pelosi is a kind of Children’s Crusade whose symbolic leader is perhaps the least-experienced member of the 2018 Democratic cohort, Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who has cast a magical spell over the party on the strength of her improbable victory in a Democratic primary against the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House leadership. Had Ocasio-Cortez dethroned some conservative dinosaur, her claim on spiritual leadership might have some merit but she knocked off a man who lacked nothing in the way of progressive credentials. Many Democrats overlook the fact that, more than anything else, Ocsio-Cortez’s surname was, quite probably, the most decisive factor in her victory in a congressional district whose ethnic composition had changed dramatically.
After historic midterm election wins, Muslims struggle a little less with their American identity
How can Donald Trump be re-elected in 2020? By talking about the economy
For the Democrats sake, I would hope that this madness is only the result of temporary euphoria in the aftermath of what has come to resemble a wave election. Out of power since the election of 2010, many Democrats are unaccustomed to the reality that they are now the majority party. They may also be in denial of the fact that, as newcomers, they have a lot to learn that can’t be gained solely in a week of freshman orientation.
The U.S. House of Representatives is a sprawling institution that has always required strong leadership and this reality may not yet have dawned on the newcomers. The speaker, although constitutionally the leader of the entire institution is also the leader of the party whose hand is prominent in everything from fund-raising to the assignment of members to committees and the shaping of legislation. If the new Democratic majority is not to stumble, it is imperative that its leaders know what they are doing. It is no place for on-the-job training.
Pelosi deserves the opportunity to lead
In time, it may appear that Rep. Pelosi is unable to lead effectively. Leaders can be replaced at any time as we saw in the case of Speaker John Boehner who was dethroned by another group of newcomers in the Republican ranks, the Freedom Caucus. But Rep. Pelosi deserves the opportunity to prove that she can lead the majority if for no other reason that she is very much the author of the Democratic victory.
Gratitude may be a rare virtue in American politics these days and the newly-elected Democratic members must be feeling pretty full of themselves right now for their victories, but they owe a substantial part of their success to the shrewd strategy and tireless fund-raising of Nancy Pelosi and the campaign organizations over which she presided. The least-defensible reason for ousting her is implicitly buying into the Republicans’ effort to frame her as an out-of-control San Francisco liberal. It’s a false stereotype that Democratic members, especially the newest ones, should not buy into.
Ross K. Baker is a distinguished professor of political science at Rutgers University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter: @Rosbake1
Source: Read Full Article