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The Perils of Pelosi vs. The Squad

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/07/11/perils-pelosi-vs-squad

“I think it would be very good if Pelosi could be less hostile to her younger and more radical colleagues; take seriously their energy, their millennial base, and their ideas for moving the party forward; and actually lead the party into the future with a new vigor.”

Pelosi is foolish as hell to not harness the “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore” attitude of “The Squad”, who consistently have the energy to do their homework and then bash the liars and thieves in public forums. “Business as usual politics” ain’t going to cut it in the age of Trump. Stand up Ms. Pelosi, or stand aside.

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As Gore Vidal said, in America we have one party with two right wings.

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“…long-standing coalitions and networks between political elites and donor networks…”

This is the crux of the problem. In a truly functional representative system, there would be no such thing as a “political elite” nor a “donor network”, much less a coalition of the two.

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The “soul” of the Democratic Party departed long ago. It started with Johnson’s inability to extract himself and the Government from Vietnam, and was completed by Bill Clinton’s triangulation and “third way” crap. I voted for Obama the first time because I was genuinely excited by the possibilities he represented; the second time because I thought he was still a Democrat. He was, and is , a moderate Republican.

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The simple fact is that the Democratic Party has done terribly over the last few years, under Pelosi leadership.
Losing to an idiot like Trump tops the cake. A big shift towards the Republicans in local and state governments, losing most of the time in the House and Senate for most of her reign, and the important fact that the Democratic base is not showing up at the
polls… these all point to the fact that Pelosi is not exactly doing a bang up job.
So, she may be a great fund raiser, but the party is not winning much at the polls. And all this, considering the fact that the Republican base is much smaller than the Democratic base.
What makes her think she’s so good at what she does?

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Just as Hillary’s DNC attack on progressives gave Trump the election Pelosi and the DNC attacks on the Progressives will do the same. They have not learn a thing.

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" Pelosi’s antagonism towards these four, and what they represent, seems unnecessary and indeed counter-productive to the goal of enhancing Democratic political power"

How is it not obvious at this point that Pelosi doesn’t care about enhancing the power of her party if it means pushing for policies her donors don’t want? She and those like her don’t use the DCCC in ways that objectively lead to better outcomes for her party. They viciously attack anyone that wants to push for policies their top donors oppose, they push for weak candidates and often throw the kitchen sink at the left. She is meeting with horrible people like racist police lapdog Pete, Neera Tanden and Schumer to undermine Bernie. She pays tribute to Pete Peterson on the House floor. She sends her top healthcare adviser out to functions with healthcare lobbyists to assure them that the Democrats won’t push for single payer. She brushes aside the GND and doesn’t bother coming up with a more “moderate” plan, which dooms younger people. And I could go on. How in the world is it not obvious that she is just a mindless tool of capital? She is attacking those to her left because they push for policies that her donors oppose and because they are calling her out, finally, for how utterly inept she is at pushing for policies that benefit the poor, working people, the environment, immigrants, etc. She is a complete and utter failure, but has a leadership role in her rotten party because of how many bribes she can rake in. Time to wake up a bit, as if she is miscalculating, she knows what she is doing. People are outraged because of her intensions, her corruption, her ideology and her record. Abysmal.

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““The Squad” are leftists and first-term insurgents who represent very “blue” districts and therefore speak for very different constituencies than the majority of House Democrats. Pelosi’s primary purpose as House Democratic leader: maintain the support of her caucus by catering to as many of its members as possible, doing as much as possible to help each of them get reelected, so that the House Democratic majority can be maintained if not expanded, and her status as Speaker can be maintained if not expanded.”

Of the people that win races in “red” or “purple” areas, what is the turnout in those elections? In mid-term elections, sometimes as low as 30%. Many of those candidates win office with the support of 15-20% of the electorate. If “none of the above” was on the ballot, they would lose to “none of the above”. Why is that not relevant? Who doesn’t vote? Poor people vote less than middle income people, who vote less than the rich. People of color generally vote in lower numbers than white people. The young vote less than the old. People support the policy positions of the left, but those policies are rarely on the general election ticket, and the Democrats are already a small percentage of the public. Especially in mid-terms, the turnout even with the party is low.

Beyond that, we know that over 90% of the time, the candidate with the most money wins, and the candidates that people like Pelosi likes outspend their leftist challengers by leaps and bounds. The left actually wins far more than the average in regards to being outspent, but it is still an uphill battle. It also cannot be argued that Democratic Party itself is neutral. The DNC is not, and the DCCC sure the hell isn’t. So, not only do corporate interests, that shower people like Pelosi with money, massively outspend anyone wanting to challenge them, but the party itself takes strong sides too against those candidates. Remember the Hoyer tape, where he just came out and admitted as much? That is the damn norm.

Think also about the fact that the right and corporate interests never stop pushing. Pelosi herself, in her typical tone deaf manner, goes on TV and brags about how many bribes she rakes in. What is that, outside of corruption? Corporate interests and the rich pushing in a particular direction. The “problem solvers” in her party push from the right too. Pelosi may or may not agree with them, but she isn’t incredulous when they critique or push her from the right, she listens respectfully and responds. But when the left pushes, well, the knives come out. What Pelosi wants, although she doesn’t just come out and say it, is to give the right and corporate interests a monopoly in regards to pushing her. They can push, the left can shut up, and we continue to drift to the right.

I also hate this author’s argument in regards to the popularity of the “moderates” that he cites. Not only are the left’s policies extremely popular, and not only has the right (so called “moderates”) won because of what I mentioned above, but there is a huge gap between what people want on policy and what the state does, and the economic trends nationally for decades shows that the policies that Pelosi has helped to create have resulted in decades of wage stagnation, systematic corruption, huge inequality, crumbling infrastructure, an environmental crisis that is growing by the day, among other things. The system and most institutions in our society are deeply unpopular. Winning an election where there is pitiful turnout is not a sign that the left isn’t popular, it takes a bit more logical digging to see how silly that is, at least the left’s policy positions and what the general public thinks about maintaining things as they are and the crappy options often presented to them.

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Thank you, and as usual, you say it much better than I could.

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This reminds me so much of the 60s, when our attempts to change policy and politics were taken, by our parents, as direct refutations of them. Obamacare could not have been exactly what Pelosi wanted, but she seems to see her ownership of it directly threatened by M4A.

She has to stop this. She has to work with the left, teach them and learn from them. If our parents had done that we’d be in a different world now.

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Joan, Pelosi’s problem is simple: to protect her status as Speaker she has to protect the Blue Dogs elected in swing districts. AO-C knows that, everyone does. To do that, she pretty much only brings moderate-friendly bills to a vote.

After passing moderate/corporate friendly legislation, her Blue Dogs inevitably go down flames and she’s once again a non-Speaker on the outside looking in. And sadly, so is the American electorate: they’re looking from outside at legislation that didn’t come close to solving problems, as you so aptly and ably point out.

So I ask Pelosi this: If your precious Blue Dogs are going down in flames anyway, why not pass bold legislation that’ll win the electorate over for the long haul?

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Using a more common everyday argument I would say that Nancy Whatever’s verbal attacks on the Freshman Congress women equate with Frum*'s bragging about grab 'em by the P&&$y camments. She is so obviously
despicable that it feels beyond real.

Put that mummy back in her tomb.

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Raking in the moola, keeping undesirables away from the polls, maintaining a facade (albeit threadbare) of concern for “the children” (which is how she’s referring to CBP lately)… okay, on that last matter her performance could stand some improvement. But please consider this rule of thumb: People usually do what they mean to do.

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I appreciate your cynicism, I really do.
But if a leader of a political party keeps losing more and more power for that party, then she’s doing a lousy job. At least, in a sane world.

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That’s where you venture astray, my friend. Here’s another rule of thumb: When you find yourself interjecting “in a sane world” you (like the great sage Lily Tomlin) might not be “keeping up.”

Seriously, the manifest insanity of a global culture effectively bent on collective suicide is at the center of my research concerns.

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Winning and losing and strategy don’t matter, the mushy middle matters:

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Trump stays in power because he knows how to fire up support. Pelosi and her kind could learn that lesson if they truly want to win. Instead they opt for the failed status quo, never willing to give up Wall Street bribes.

If they backed firebrands like Bernie and AOC, they could win.

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Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.

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A little bewildering then that he got no support from turtle man, or any republican for that matter. And we all saw enough bigoted behavior from the right to let us know where they stand on that front.