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.

PA Open Thread: Sow the Windbag, Reap the Fartcloud

Of course, the Repubs prefer to blame… well, anything other than the obvious:

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PA-18, Once Again: Change of Plans!



PA Special Election Pt. III (& Re-counting?)

The Repubs are scrambling to explain that the margins are so narrow as to make this election meaningless, and also Conor Lamb is practically a Republican anyways, and besides the district is due to go away come November. So… looking good for Sen. Lamb, so far!

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Down to the Wire in PA

If Accuweather is to be believed, the Pittsburgh area is far enough inland that only “flurries” are predicted today. I’m partisan enough to hope it discourages the elderly FOX-watching voters, but not their Democratic neighbors…

Late Night Open Thread: Good for Gov. Moonbeam

That’s quite an analogy, but IMO it holds up. CNN on Sessions’ CA visit:

California Gov. Jerry Brown fired back at Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump on Wednesday after their lawsuit challenging the state’s immigration laws, calling the administration “full of liars” and repeatedly referencing the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US election…

“I do think this is pure red meat for the base, and I would assume — this is pure speculation — that Jeff thinks Donald will be happier with him and I bet Donald will be tweeting his joy with this stunt,” Brown said.

Special counsel Robert “Mueller is closing in. There are more indictments to come. So obviously the attorney general has found it hard to be just a normal attorney general. He’s been caught up in the whirlwind,” Brown added.

Brown accused the administration of “going to war” with California and said Sessions was acting “more like Fox News than a law enforcement officer” in his visit…

In a speech laden with tough rhetoric for his critics and immigration advocates, Sessions on Wednesday morning had decried officials who support sanctuary city policies as “extremists” promoting “open borders.”

“Stop treating immigration agents differently from everybody else for the purpose of eviscerating border and immigration laws and advancing an open borders philosophy shared by only a few, the most radical extremists,” Sessions said.

Gov. Brown and AG Becerra make a great tag team, too — NPR’s Judy Woodruff showed up with a mouthful of whutaboudism pap, and this ensued:

Judy Woodruff:Attorney General Becerra, what do you say to Attorney General Sessions’ charge that California has essentially, I mean, in his words, enacted a number of laws designed to “intentionally obstruct the work of our sworn immigration enforcement officers,” to intentionally undermine their ability to do their jobs?

Xavier Becerra:Well, it’s an intentional misrepresentation.

If you just simply read the laws, most of those statutes say from the very beginning, except as required by federal law, we will do this. Or they actually point out the statute that the Trump administration has tried to sue California on, where we actually cite the words of the statute in those provisions of law that we have in California that essentially protect the federal government’s right to enforce immigration law.

And so they continue to say these things, but the statutes that they point to that say that — restrict the ability of ICE to do its work are the very statutes that say that we exempt federal law, or we allow federal law to take precedent over anything that the state law says…

Gov. Jerry Brown:Yes. And, by the way, the attorney general got a very tepid response. I think,out of 200 people, 10 people stood up after he gave his speech.

And the most important police chiefs support these bills. They don’t support Jeff Sessions.

Judy Woodruff: Very quickly, Governor, President Trump is going to be in California next week. Do you have plans to meet with him?

Gov. Jerry Brown: Well, he hasn’t let me know.

By the way, we called Sessions’ office, the attorney general’s office, are you coming out? They wouldn’t even take the call. But they notified the press.

This is press release politics. I don’t know whether — Trump, he can call me on the phone. I have talked to him before about disaster relief. We had a very fine conversation.

So, look, I want to collaborate, but I’m not going to be complicit with lies and denigrating the great state of California.

Yeah, I somehow suspect Governor Brown’s invitation to the Trump rally won’t be forthcoming.

Interesting Read: (How Soon) Will the GOP Lose Orange County?

To those of us old enough to remember the Reagan years, the phrase “Orange County is Republican” was one of those unfortunate unshakeable verities, like “AIDS is a swift death sentence.” CNN’s article here is riddled with idiot bothsiderism, but it just might be one more proof that everything Trump touches dies:

If recent population trends continue at their current pace, it’s likely that by Election Day this November, minorities will constitute the majority of the population in the Congressional District centered on this prospering small city in Orange County about an hour south of Los Angeles.

That places the 45th Congressional District of California, whose seat is now held by Republican Rep. Mimi Walters, at the forefront of a trend that’s steadily reshaping the landscape of House seats across the country: the inexorable growth of racial and ethnic diversity…

For decades, Orange County sent conservative firebrands such as Robert Dornan and William Dannemeyer to the House and was so reliably red that President Ronald Reagan famously joked it was where all good Republicans went to die. After Franklin Roosevelt carried the county in his landslide first re-election in 1936, no Democratic presidential candidate won it again until 2016, when Hillary Clinton narrowly beat Donald Trump there.

Now Democrats are mobilizing to mount their most serious challenge yet against Walters, a low-key former mayor of coastal Laguna Niguel and state legislator first elected to Congress in 2014. Democrats are also pressing hard for the neighboring Orange County seat held by Republican Dana Rohrabacher, as well as the open seats being vacated by GOP Reps. Ed Royce and Darrell Issa, who are retiring.
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