Late Night Open Thread: Nancy Pelosi Is Smarter Than ‘The President’

Low bar, admittedly. AND YET…

Even Tiger Beat on the Potomac, aka Politico, is reluctantly impressed!:

Two months ago, Nancy Pelosi was battling an internal Democratic rebellion trying to bar her from the speakership…

Now — just weeks after reclaiming the speaker’s gavel — the California Democrat has already bested President Donald Trump in a gut-wrenching fight that may help define the 116th Congress, while strengthening her hold over rank-and-file lawmakers…

…[J]just as she did with her Democratic critics weeks ago, Pelosi waited Trump out until he couldn’t take the heat anymore. Amid a wave of news stories on furloughed federal workers showing up at food banks or in unemployment lines, airports across the country facing slowdowns, thousands of IRS employees who weren’t returning to the job when ordered back without pay — or, perhaps more so, the public blaming him for the chaos – Trump wilted. Pelosi held firm.

“No one should ever underestimate the speaker, as Donald Trump has learned,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Friday.

Pelosi’s victory over Trump will cement her power as she and House Democrats flex their muscles with their newfound majority. It will have substantial implications for the relationship between the two power players as they clash on everything from the Russia investigation to immigration to health care. And it’s already endearing Pelosi with progressives who’ve long awaited a leader who could stand up to — and defeat — the party’s No. 1 enemy at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave...

Yet it wasn’t easy for her. Pelosi worked behind the scenes to keep her caucus in line — even as a small faction of her own members grew skittish about the shutdown’s impacts on constituents and privately urged her to counter a recent Trump compromise with an offer of her own.

Pelosi’s reply? Don’t give an inch and stay together, she told nervous Democrats as recently as this week. If we counter-offer Trump on the wall, we lose, Pelosi insisted. And we’re winning…

During a closed-door meeting of House Democrats Wednesday, Pelosi defended her no-negotiating strategy.

“Understand, there is a plan. It is working for us,” Pelosi told the caucus, recounting how she and other Democrats beat back then-President George W. Bush’s efforts to privatize social security in 2005 by staying unified and sticking to a simple message, much like they were doing now. Democrats did the same when Republicans shutdown the government in 2013 in a bid to defund Obamacare, she said. They didn’t counter Republicans then, Pelosi noted —and ultimately, they won…

Pelosi herself declined to take a victory lap Friday, despite being pressed by reporters several times on whether she bested Trump in this fight. Even during a public signing of the three-week stopgap bill to reopen the government, the cable news cameras hanging on her every word, Pelosi wouldn’t gloat.

“I don’t unify our caucus, our values unify us,” Pelosi told reporters. “Our unity is our power and that is maybe what the president underestimated.”

Democrats, however, haven’t been so subtle in rubbing their victory in Trump’s face. In fact, they flooded Twitter with praise for Pelosi and how she outfoxed Trump…

41 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    Nancy Smash has been wonderful👏👏👏

  2. 2
    Felanius Kootea says:

    She handled him the way she handled GWB on social security privatization. A thing of beauty! 45 is a crazy narcissist though so I wonder what tantrum he’ll throw next.

    I’m sure she’ll remind him that she has the power to subpoena his tax returns soon enough.

  3. 3

    @rikyrah: We’re lucky to have her. And incredibly lucky that Moulton and Tim Ryan and those other dolts didn’t succeed in deposing her from her Speakership. Can you imagine?

  4. 4

    But she’s ooollllldd!! We need new bloooddd!!

  5. 5
    Mezz says:

    I am really excited to troll the shit out of my Congressman Stephen Lynch, and throw some shade at Moulton too. I’m looking for a Lynch public meeting to see if he will explain his judgement in his half-assed and moronic opposition Pelosi’s leadership. I’d bet that dumb prick would have tried for negotiating with the Mango Mussolini on Eagle’s Nest golf course, buddying it up. (Sorry for the mix of fascist metaphors.)

    Mme. Speaker did an amazing job.

  6. 6
    Frankensteinbeck says:

    Nancy schooled both Trump and McConnell. Trump will be angry, but also afraid. All this humiliation? He knows she can do it to him again. How McConnell will react I don’t know, but i’m sure Pelosi does.

  7. 7
    TS (the original) says:

    In reply to the Peter Wehner tweet


    Replying to @LeifEri03313055 @Peter_Wehner
    ……….. He strips their health care, raises their taxes, ruins their air and water, embraces Nazis, cripples their govt and THE WALL FAILURE is the thing that is going to demoralize them? That’s really pathetic and sad

    The trump voter defined.

  8. 8
    Mnemosyne says:

    Lots of morons on Twitter whining about how what Pelosi did to keep her caucus together and on message was “so easy” that she shouldn’t get any credit for it. 🙄

    Do these same morons think that they could beat LeBron James in a game of one-on-one because King James makes basketball look “so easy”?

  9. 9
    plato says:

    an internal Democratic rebellion

    LMAO. Less than half a dozen does not a rebellion make.

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’ve been using your “Nancy from Baltimore” line on Facebook. My AA acquaintances seem amused that an old centrist white woman like me already knows about it. 😂

  11. 11
    eclare says:

    @rikyrah: We are lucky to have her. Still can’t believe some thought she should be replaced.

  12. 12
    Msb says:

    Geez, Politico, it’s “endearing to”!
    I love seeing Nancy Smash get the credit she deserves, though some of the golden glow may consist of the contrast with the Zombie-eyed Granny Starver.

  13. 13
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  14. 14
    TS (the original) says:


    though some of the golden glow may consist of the contrast with the Zombie-eyed Granny Starver.

    And what a contrast it is. She talks to people, she explains her position, she thinks, she acts, she negotiates with her house members. Ryan mumbled as he ran down the corridors to avoid the press and anyone else that might want to see him. He has been shown for the fraud he was – and rightly is collecting some of the blame for the shutdown.

  15. 15
    Leto says:

    @Mnemosyne: @(((CassandraLeo))): Throughout the post, I kept thinking, “How many times does she need to demonstrate that she’s the master of all she surveys?” To the Rethugs, to the idiots in her own caucus, to the village idiots… then I remember, oh yeah, she’s a woman so N+1, where N is infinity. She’s the most effective house speaker in generations, her spine is made from diamond, she’s at least 5 steps ahead of the dumbshits…

    Of course this is also where my pragmatic side shows and says, “Yes we need new blood coming into the party, but having very experienced (I.e. older) people leading us is a good thing. Especially when they’ve shown to be highly effective in doing what needs to be done.” I hope the incoming freshmen are taking copious notes.

  16. 16
    balconesfault says:

    The way this played out made me think “how many times in Trump’s business career did he rely on others giving him a way to save face after he made a really bad decision?”

    Of course – they always would have presumed that this would buy them good will from Trump in the future – and no doubt they were screwed over at some point in the future when they expected a favor from him in return.

    I still insist that the reason that Trump was really mad at Pelosi after they met a few weeks ago was because she wouldn’t do what he’d have done in her situation.


    He offered to reopen the government if she’d commit to approving wall funding with 30 days. She could have done what Trump would do – lie, say “yes” – and then in 30 days either completely reneg or add a lot to the deal (DACA plus path to citizenship for dreamers, hundred of billions for renewable energy, Medicare for All, etc).

    That’s what Trump would do.

    But no. She knew she wouldn’t support his wall funding without significant concessions from the Republicans, and so she honestly declined his deal.

    Trump, however, wanted her to lie so he could save face.

  17. 17
    satby says:

    What a day of highs and lows yesterday was! I was in the air when the shutdown ended finally. Ironic that I support the unions and hoped they would do a coordinated sick out, and then was flying when they did 😄!
    @Leto: Nancy Smash will be mentoring a number of younger House members. I’m sure she always has, but it’s hard to mentor people who discount your knowledge because you’re a woman. Now that the House is more diversified, she has members who will be willing to be mentored to work with. Contrary to what most young’uns think, us olds don’t actually want to work until we drop dead (and thanks, RBG, for hanging tough as long as you have).

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Leto says:


    Contrary to what most young’uns think, us olds don’t actually want to work until we drop dead

    That’s the Rethugs and their pay masters who want that. The eternal struggle to try to live a dignified life.

  20. 20
    plato says:

    From 72nd to world number one with two grand slams. All in under one year.

    Go Naomi Osaka.

  21. 21
    satby says:

    @rikyrah: Good morning! I hope you don’t have to go out today!
    I do, in 1/2 an hour to work at what will certainly be a completely dead market. NOT looking forward to it, but the next week will be brutal in terms of weather, so I may as well try to get it and groceries done today. 6-10 inches of snow expected here starting Monday. With a high of -8 after on Wednesday. Hunker down and hibernate time!

  22. 22
    David Evans says:

    I’m a little uneasy with this narrative. It might be a short step in the public mind from “Nancy was in control the whole time” to “The whole thing was Nancy’s fault”.

  23. 23
    JMG says:

    It is holding the caucus together that is Pelosi’s strength. And that was way harder to do in 2005 with Social Security privatization and ACA repeal in 2017 than it was to do this, because the caucus is much more in synch with her than it was on those occasions. Perfect practice makes perfect. Pelosi’s had decades of practice in legislative maneuver and negotiation. Trump had never been in a negotiation in which he couldn’t cheat to get his way. Small wonder she threw a no-hitter at him. Experience isn’t everything. There are many MoCs with decades of service who’re no more than potted plants, but when experience is added to a talent in one of the world’s most arcane skills — legislative leadership, it goes far.

  24. 24
    satby says:

    @David Evans: except for that video of Trump telling Schumer he would be proud to shutdown the government.
    We got the receipts: and Pelosi is holding them for us.

  25. 25
    plato says:

    @David Evans:

    The whole thing was Nancy’s fault

    That shtick was tried but didn’t work the whole time.

  26. 26
    Plato says:

    Pelosi has enhanced her standing in her caucus, and Trump has diminished his standing inside his own. You don't hear many House Democrats these days grumbling about Pelosi's leadership. But you hear plenty of Republicans lamenting Trump's.
    — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) January 26, 2019

  27. 27
    Ken says:

    @Plato: The RNC sure picked a good week to announce they wouldn’t allow challengers to Trump in 2020.

  28. 28
    TriassicSands says:

    Pelosi, asked how Trump will handle backdown on reopening government without wall money, gestures toward her office decorations: “we could plant these flowers along the border and he’d say, ‘I got my wall.’ “

    As much as i admire Pelosi’s ability, and as much as we all hate Trump, and as tempting as it is to taunt him, I think that’s a terrible mistake. Yes, Nancy Pelosi is a lot smarter than Trump (or any other fascist, er, I mean Republican), but Trump, as president, has a lot more power than Pelosi or any other former Speaker of the House. Pelosi’s “power” is her ability to stop Trump and the GOP from doing certain things. A kind of defensive power. Trump, on the other hand, has great offensive power. He can retaliate and do tremendous damage in countless ways. Ordinarily, we might think the SCOTUS might act as a restraint on Trump, but with John Roberts and his merry band of right-wing extremists, I wouldn’t count on that.

    Until Trump is out of office, Democrats should stand up to him and prevent what damage they can. However, taunting him seems like a very foolish thing to do given how mentally unstable he is.

    Yes, Trump is a blowhard, a coward, and an idiot, but he’s a very dangerous idiot. Pelosi, above all should be a “good winner.” There is no future in making fun of a narcissistic sociopath who can do unimaginable damage.

    Pushed by cretins like Coulter, Limbaugh and most of the crew at Fox News, I can easily imagine Trump declaring a national emergency in three weeks and ordering the military to build his vanity wall. Lower courts may rule his actions unconstitutional, but I’d expect Trump to call for an expedited SCOTUS hearing. Does anyone feel confident they will rule against Their Führer? (Rhymes with Der Führer.)

    Trump has to be handled carefully. It remains to be seen whether Pelosi will do that. “Carefully” doesn’t mean giving in, it means manipulating him by allowing him the room to claim victories even when he’s been soundly defeated. Talking about a planted row of flowers as passing for Trump’s wall seems unnecessarily provocative. It accomplishes nothing but it could provoke damaging retaliation.

    Trump is not paying attention to us, so we can make fun of him with impunity. I don’t think Pelosi or any other elected Democrat in DC can or should. House investigations should proceed in an orderly and transparent manner.

    Even the dumbest Trump supporter ought to be able to see that Trump has no idea how to negotiate.

  29. 29
    Another Scott says:

    re Maggie’s tweet about “hours of negative coverage on Fox”: I was struck by the chyron on BBC World News when it talked about the Senate vote on Thursday, etc.:

    (Something like:)

    Republican and Democrat plans to end shutdown fail…

    Shutdown ends, but still no funding for Border Wall…

    It seems as though one has to be a Life Member of the Federalist Society to get a job as a headline writer or chyron writer, even in the UK.



  30. 30
    japa21 says:

    @ja href=”#comment-7169082″>TriassicSands: Wrong

  31. 31
    Mai Naem mobile says:

    Why all these media stories that sound surprised that Nancy Pelosi is a good politician? Her dad was a congressman and mayor of Baltimore. Her brother was mayor of Baltimore. She has to have learned some political stuff just through osmosis.

  32. 32
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Mai Naem mobile:
    It’s more than osmosis; it’s also a lot of practice, and innate talent. She has a mind that can “see” and think about political interplays in detail. Also she’s self-aware and empathic. As Leto and others say above, I hope she’s spending some time teaching these mental skills/approaches to younger (,more) progressive politicians. Because everyone has been taking notes, including R political operatives.

  33. 33
    stinger says:

    @Msb: Thank you! That jarred when I read it.

  34. 34
    Brantl says:

    Nancy’s about fifty times smarter than Trump, and he has no clue how to deal with her. It’s a lot like the Roadrunner, stumping the Coyote, time after time after time. I hope she can continue to pull it off.

  35. 35
    WaterGirl says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    it’s also a lot of practice, and innate talent. She has a mind that can “see” and think about political interplays in detail. Also she’s self-aware and empathic.

    You are so right. I follow women’s volleyball, and the best players are the ones the coaches describe as “she can see the whole court” or “in an instant, she can see where the holes on the court are”.

    You can teach a volleyball player a better approach to the jump, or how to take a fuller swing at the ball, and even how to try to be more aware on the court, but in order to be truly great, you have to have what you are describing in the sentence i quoted and what the coaches are describing in my first paragraph.

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @plato: That’s the scum of Tiger Beat on the Potomac for you.

    Wipe them out. All of them.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Brantl: Wile E. Coyote consistently displays more intelligence than Donald can dream of.

  38. 38
    Ruckus says:

    Nancy is a natural leader. These are rather rare in real life. I’ve met 3 people IRL who were natural leaders. Two Marine sergeants and one ships captain. A NL is not the same as a boss nor does it come from a title. Many of us think that we need younger blood in our politics, for good reason. But a NL is that person who can take the disparity among us and weave an effective path forward that suits the vast majority. They aren’t in it for the fame or fortune, it’s just who they are. Think of Patton and Eisenhower. Both leaders by title but otherwise different as day and night. Patton had the title, didn’t need to lead by force, but that’s what he did and it was a costly way to go. Eisenhower was a NL who lead by thinking and wondering. JFK was a NL, as was RFK. President Obama is a NL.

  39. 39
    Ruckus says:


    The eternal struggle to try to live a dignified life.

    Aw the dignified life. Gold spray painted toilets, excess crap, bullshit galore, it’s wonderful, no?
    You are right, dignified is the missing component in republican policies. They don’t even want to be dignified or at least they don’t care about actual dignity, for themselves or anyone else. 50+ yrs of physical work gets you that sparrow on a rod over a trashcan fire. Maybe. On of my life heroes is a black man a few years older than me. Dropped out of school in Louisiana in the 4th grade to work to help his mom out. This one man had more dignity that all republicans combined. He’s my hero because he never lost that, never thought about losing that.

  40. 40
    chopper says:


    also gerrymandering. one of the side effects of GOP districting has been to make blue districts more blue than they should be, which means the members of the dem caucus are more liberal on average an they used to be. it’s easier (tho still not easy) to keep them together against a guy like trump.

  41. 41
    JGabriel says:


    Yes, Nancy Pelosi is a lot smarter than Trump (or any other fascist, er, I mean Republican), but Trump, as president, has a lot more power than Pelosi or any other former Speaker of the House.

    A little power in the hands of someone who knows how to wield it can be far more effective than a lot of power in the hands of an incompetent.

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