by Jeffrey A. Rendall
Last week there was quite a lot of news media chatter about swapping Hillary Clinton for Joe Biden on the 2024 Democrat presidential ticket, a fascinating concept that pundits couldn’t stop talking about. It didn’t receive nearly the headlines, but whispers involving the impending retirement of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — and her eventual replacement — have also begun in earnest.
Of course, there’s been no formal announcement that she’s leaving — either from the Speaker herself or the poohbahs at Democrat National Committee headquarters. But like all worst kept secrets, everyone with a brain and some knowledge of American politics understands that Pelosi shares characteristics with a ticking time bomb set to go off later this year.
With the prospects for Democrats holding the majority after this year’s federal midterm elections growing dimmer by the day, folks have initiated a political death watch for the soon-to-be 82-year-old gavel bearer. A large number of veteran party incumbents have officially indicated they’re heading for the exits after this session concludes. Combined with redistricting changes (after the 2020 census) and a basketful of “moderate” (they’re really not balanced, but that’s how the media refers to them) Democrats facing fierce headwinds in their swing districts, and the numbers bloodbath could/should be scary.
With little opportunity to do much of anything, House Republicans would be hard pressed to screw up this nearly certain switch of partisan control. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will have his chances to alienate the conservative base and dampen GOP turnout — like bowing to media pressure to censure Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green or Lauren Boebert — but it isn’t likely to happen. McCarthy may not be the brightest bulb on the chandelier, but even he isn’t that dumb. Or let’s hope not.
So it looks like ol’ San Fran Nan will have to live off her tens of millions and significant federal pension back in her Bay Area abode for the rest of her life. She can still afford all the expensive premium ice cream she can consume and pack into $20,000 freezers — and all the hair appointments she can schedule — but she won’t be able to use Air Force planes to shuttle her across the fruited plain any longer.
Oh, the regrets! But who will replace her? Pelosi’s been around so long that it’s never been a serious question. She’s as close to a head of parliament that America has recently produced. What to do? What to do?
“A new generation of ambitious Democrats is looking to push aside the old guard of octogenarians — Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) — but the veteran No. 2 and No. 3 leaders have been forecasting a different scenario, reaching out to their colleagues to gauge support about staying on, even if Pelosi calls it quits…
“Ready to seize the opportunity to rise in the ranks are the three leaders seated just below Clyburn: Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), the caucus vice chairman.”
Wait a second. Who, who and who? None of these clowns has a national profile. Contrast this trio with the names that came up when then-Speaker Paul Ryan announced he was retiring to Wisconsin in 2018. Kevin McCarthy came out on top, but he was already fairly well known to Republicans as a dedicated establishmentarian who could get along with conservatives under the right circumstances. It’s not like that in Democrat-land.
The Hill writers continued, “While there are sure to be others in the mix vying for leadership spots — some early speculation surrounds Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Congressional Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) — some lawmakers are predicting ‘no wild cards’ in the highest ranks next year.”
Ah, the parade of the wingnuts! Sure, let’s have House Minority Leader Adam Schiff! Talk about a gift (to Republicans) that keeps on giving. Schiff in front of a camera and microphone every day would make Pelosi appear sane and grounded in common sense. But these are Democrats we’re talking about, right?
No conservative would ever suggest it but a lot of Democrats must be wondering, is Nancy Pelosi irreplaceable? Republicans are pondering the same question in reference to Donald Trump, as the 2024 presidential primary competition will commence about a year from now. Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda has been adopted by large swaths of the party — no doubt ticking off the establishment to the nth degree — but is there a party member or outsider who could sell it as well as Trump does?
A good number of Republicans who aren’t wild about Trump’s unrivaled ability to add controversy to his otherwise solid governing style believe someone like Florida’s Ron DeSantis could match, or come close to, the 45th president in this regard. DeSantis isn’t shy about sticking his fingers in leftists’ eyes while generally avoiding the below-the-belt punches that Trump is renowned for. Debate will continue… at least until Trump specifies whether he’s running again.
But what about Nanny P? Conservatives can’t stand her, make fun of her nonstop (not me, but some do, wink, wink) and several notables even pan her appearance while comparing her face to the late child bedmate molesting pop star Michael Jackson’s. But Pelosi’s awful, rage-inducing personality aside, she’s been incredibly effective at moving the left’s agenda into the mainstream of the Democrat party while strong-arming the “moderates” in her caucus to do her bidding. Bend over and like it, then have some wine!
Leftist loon Alexandria Ocasio Cortez recently said Republicans are jealous of her because they can’t date her, which is definitely not true; AOC demonstrates that even beautiful women aren’t always sexy or attractive. But to claim that GOPers are a tad envious of Pelosi isn’t a stretch. Conservatives would love to have a House leader who’s as intractable and self-centered — and dedicated to her ideological brethren’s cause — as the hag from Golden Gate Bridge country.
Love her or hate her, Pelosi’s never given an inch. Trump wouldn’t admit it, but I think even the New York real estate tycoon and reality TV celebrity recognizes that he and Nancy P have a lot in common in terms of leadership traits. They’ll both go before the media and fight like heck to defend themselves and their underlings (in Trump’s case, the ones who openly support him). The current Speaker has somehow managed to take a narrow party majority and pass every single piece of legislation that Joe Biden wanted without compromising much and with hardly any accompanying political damage to herself or her troops.
That’s a heck of a record, isn’t it?
Pelosi lofts bombs and takes incoming return fire without getting wounded. She’s never been seriously challenged for her leadership post. The woman has no scruples or principles, but she keeps her eye on the prize and doesn’t relent no matter what. Those are priceless leadership qualities that are rare and don’t come around very often. Again, it’s hard to heap such praise on someone you can’t stomach, but it’s true.
It’s the main reason there are no DINOs (Democrats in Name Only) in San Fran Nan’s boat. She’d toss any mutineers over the side, but only after attaching lead balls and chains to their feet. If Pelosi were a space commander, she cut a wayward spacewalker loose when they least expected it. If she were a football head coach, she’d tell the offensive line not to block when her party naysayer quarterback drops back to pass.
It’s an unenviable task to name her successor. Who will the Democrats tap to come after Pelosi?
I don’t know enough about the internal dynamics of Democrat Capitol Hill politics, but the person will almost certainly need the enthusiastic approval of the rising and growing contingent of leftist agitators such as AOC and her nutcase “Squad” faction. These young-ish relative newcomers have pursued a very public campaign to comment on issues that come before the House. They’ve threatened to withhold their votes, which can’t be ignored when numbers are close.
Don’t forget, Pelosi had to rely on a baker’s dozen GOP turncoats to pass the badly mislabeled bipartisan “infrastructure” bill. But she still did it. The noticeably shrinking contingent of Democrat “moderates” will be wholesale wiped out in the 2022 elections, so the new leader(s) won’t even need to throw them a bone in the next Congress. If the Blue Dog Democrats became extinct after Obamacare, just watch what happens to today’s fence occupiers after November of this year.
The real mystery is whether the new Democrat House leader can wield the whip the way Pelosi’s always done. It’s a hard act to follow, that’s for sure.
The thought of being rid of Nancy Pelosi after the 2022 midterms is a pleasant one, but keep in mind that whoever comes after her will be just as bad — or even worse, if it’s possible. Democrat leadership changes signal slight differences in disposition and delivery but always perpetuate the same lies, distortions and general nastiness that all (or most) party members exhibit.
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Jeffrey A. Rendall contributes to ConservativeHQ.
Photo “Nancy Pelosi” by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0.