Russiagate Open Thread: COMPLICIT

But it’s not just Trump who’s acting just like someone whose career relies on keeping a foreign oligarch happy…

Thursday Morning Open Thread: Mistaking Tolerance for Weakness

There’s a joke going back at least as far as Anthony Trollope about liberals “so determined to be tolerant they won’t defend even their own arguments.” Once-and-hopefully-Future Speaker Pelosi is *not* of that genre…

And she’s not alone, as some more-progressive-than-thou primary candidates just found out…

Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Compare & Contrast

And a dozen Democrats running in ‘red to purple’ districts get to shake their heads sadly, before explaining how they, of course, would never vote for that mean ol’ lady Pelosi. Thereby sparing them from having to make promises that might actually get them into trouble, when (if) they’re elected. (Just as I would never run away with George Clooney for a wild weekend at his Italian villa — it wouldn’t be fair to poor Amal. The certainty that Mr. Clooney is not about to ask me in no way negates my feminist solidarity.)

Across the aisle, a million miles away…

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Nancy Pelosi, Warhorse


*This* bullshit, again. Jonathan Chait, at NYMag, “Nancy Pelosi Is Good at Her Job and She Should Keep It”

Would a different Democratic leader prove less of a liability? Probably for a while, yes. Republicans have spent years building up Pelosi as a hate figure, and a newer and less familiar Democratic leader would take longer for Republicans to promote as a target of fear and loathing. It’s also possible that a Democrat who was either from a less famously progressive locale than San Francisco, or not female, would be less threatening to some socially conservative voters. (The latter point is the most fraught: Do Democrats really want to let irrational fear of powerful women dictate their choice of leaders?) It is true, though, that deposing Pelosi would have at least a temporary messaging benefit in some tough districts this fall.

But the cost of throwing Pelosi over the side would be high. She has been an extraordinarily effective caucus leader. When Democrats last held the majority, she shepherded into law the most aggressive spate of liberal reforms since the Great Society: an $800 billion fiscal stimulus, health-care reform, Dodd-Frank….

Pelosi’s Democratic critics include both the left and right flanks of the party (which is itself a sign that she occupies its center). Attacks on her leadership try to simultaneously attack her as too moderate and too liberal, in an attempt to cobble together both irreconcilable strands. In part to cover up the incoherence of the criticism, the complaint is often expressed in vague generational terms. She is too old, and ought to give way to the new generation. (Whether this new generation will be more moderate or more liberal is a question that can be filled in as one desires.)

Yet there is zero sign Pelosi’s age has impeded her work. She has not lost her persuasive talents: Pelosi effectively rallied the party to unanimously oppose the Trump tax cuts. If some Democrats had supported the measure, Republicans could have touted its bipartisan nature, which would in turn help reduce its unpopularity. Instead the health care and tax cuts have been a millstone around Republican necks. (Republicans initially tried attacking Conor Lamb for opposing the tax cuts, but abandoned that message, a telling concession in a heavily Republican district.) Last month, Pelosi delivered an eight-hour speech defending the Dreamers, standing the entire time, in heels, without a break, a feat of stamina I could not have matched at any point in my life. It may have been a stunt to display her vitality, but it was a convincing one.

Replacing Pelosi as leader would create the ephemeral benefit of forcing Republicans to rotate in a new cast of villains to star in their attack ads — MS-13? hippies? antifa? — until they could build up the name-ID for her successor. It would bring the significant downside of firing an elected official who is extremely good at her extremely important job.

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Nancy STILETTO, Too

Readership capture. Dana Houle, in the Washington Post, “Nancy Pelosi is incredibly underrated”:

Pelosi has never tried, as Ryan did, to seduce the press, and what she says in public is occasionally convoluted. Her strength is in what she does away from the microphones.

Growing up in a political family, Pelosi learned to balance competing demands, get people enough of what they needed for them to feel satisfied, to keep track of who crossed you, who helped you, and whom to call on to return favors. And she learned to listen and ensure that people know they are heard. Pelosi draws on this experience while serving both her constituencies: San Franciscans, and the Democratic members of Congress she has led since 2003.

Pelosi is a master vote counter — and more than most 20th-century congressional leaders, she has to be. Majorities are narrower, and to pass partisan legislation, or keep a unified opposition, leaders cannot afford to have many members voting against their caucus. When Democrats have been in the minority, she has kept her representatives in check, even as Ryan and his predecessors have had to pull bills from the House floor because they got the whip count wrong.

And when Democrats were in the majority, Pelosi amassed a record that’s all the more impressive given her unpopularity nationally. In 2008, despite favorability ratings around 30 percent and attacks from the left for not defunding the Iraq War, Pelosi led House Democrats to their second straight wave election. Former Republican majority leader Tom DeLay — who knew a thing or two about keeping a caucus together — called her “the most powerful speaker in a generation. She will be able to do anything she wants.” The next two years, she passed nearly all of President Barack Obama’s legislative priorities.

Yes, of course, Pelosi is unpopular. So are Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). So is Congress. Yet, for some reason, only Pelosi gets blamed for an unpopularity that really stems from disgust with Congress and partisan polarization. Pelosi is not a scorched-earth partisan; indeed, at numerous times in her career she has been criticized for cutting deals, such as on Iraq War appropriations and Obamacare. But she also understands polarization. She sees her public role not as using policy to communicate a common ground to centrist swing voters but to expose differences between Democrats and Republicans…

Apart from honoring our street fighters, what’s on the agenda for the weekend?

By Request: NANCY SMASH!


I was gonna wait to see how it turned out, but yeah, Pelosi deserves the spotlight…

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took the rare step Wednesday of giving a marathon speech supporting Democrats’ attempts to legalize the status of young immigrant “dreamers,” in a bid to pressure Republicans to act.

Pelosi (D-Calif.) began talking shortly after 10 a.m., using her right as minority leader to speak for as long as she wants. She began by saying that she would lead opposition to a broad two-year budget agreement that includes several Democratic priorities but does not address immigration — the topic that has prolonged the spending debate for several months.

“I have no intention of yielding back,” Pelosi said at 3:41 p.m. Eastern as she neared the six-hour mark of her ongoing remarks.

The hope is that Pelosi and Democrats — whose support is often needed to pass spending bills in the face of opposition from fiscal conservatives — can pressure House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) to hold votes on immigration legislation, as the Senate is poised to begin doing next week.

“Why should we in the House be treated in such a humiliating way when the Republican Senate leader has given that opportunity in a bipartisan way to his membership? What’s wrong? There’s something wrong with this picture,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi, 77, peppered her speech with anecdotes about people protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and mentioned the biblical tale of the Good Samaritan…

At least six floor aides and 18 Democratic lawmakers sat around her, including Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). But most sat skimming their phones or reading documents. One aide kept slipping her fresh pages with more stories to tell about dreamers affected by the ongoing impasse.

On the other side of the chamber sat only Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) and two aides, seemingly waiting to seize the floor and begin debate on a home mortgage bill scheduled to be voted on later Wednesday…

Of course (*sigh*) it wouldn’t be a Democratic landmark without some two-bit opportunist trying to grab some attention…

Open Thread: Good for Nancy Pelosi

She didn’t satisfy the ALL DEMOCRATS MUST CONTINUALLY APOLOGIZE FOR ANY DEM’S CRIMES crew, but nevertheless

Rep. John Conyers said Sunday he was stepping down from his post as the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee amid accusations of sexual harassment that have put his party’s leaders in a bind.

The decision by the Michigan lawmaker — who has held his seat since 1965 and who denies the harassment allegations — followed several days of internal deliberation and pressure from Democratic colleagues, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who wanted Conyers to leave the high-profile post but didn’t want to be seen as forcing him out.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and assistant Democratic leader Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) reached out to some CBC members over the Thanksgiving recess to take the temperature of the caucus, according to multiple sources. The group is arguably the most powerful bloc within the House Democratic Caucus and is fiercely protective of its members, particularly Conyers, who was a founding member.

In an interview Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Pelosi seemed to underscore the cautious approach by taking pains to praise Conyers’ record and call for “due process,” even as she said she believed “he will do the right thing.” She also referred to Conyers as an “icon” for his lengthy service and work “to protect women.” …

Privately, Pelosi has been working behind the scenes with leaders of the CBC and Conyers to figure out his next steps. One senior Democratic aide said she was trying “to lay groundwork for him to step aside gracefully.”….

Conyers is an icon, even if he’s twenty years past his glory days, and a frontal attack on him would’ve served nobody but the authoritarian enablers who’ve been hawking the “Either a Black man or a white woman — only one token can win” strategy since the mid-1800s. (Read Ta-Nahesi Coates’ essay on “The Great Schism” for more detail.)


(Also, ten quatloos that Chuck Todd has some sexual-harrassment claims in his newsroom closet.)