ChrisWeigant.com

Thank You, Nancy Pelosi

[ Posted Thursday, November 17th, 2022 – 17:19 UTC ]

Nancy Pelosi will always be considered a historic speaker of the House of Representatives for many reasons -- the most facile of which to see is that she was the first woman to be speaker in all of American history. She was closer to the presidency than any woman had gotten before (this was true up until Kamala Harris was sworn in as vice president). Historic things happened during her leadership, and she was always at the center of them. She acquired political power and wielded it well, which is really no surprise since she literally learned politics "at her daddy's knee," as a little girl. She has done Baltimore proud, to put that another way, as well as the D'Alesandro family (a Maryland political dynasty).

But Pelosi's breaking of the glass ceiling is really not the most important reason why she will be remembered as a historic speaker. Because she was so effective. She was the strongest leader of the House since probably Tip O'Neill -- and that is really saying something. She wielded power with great skill and she managed to accomplish a feat that many (including myself) had believed almost impossible: she successfully herded the Democratic cats in the House. She got them all moving in one direction, she held them together through thick and thin, and even when she was merely the minority leader she still showed she had better control over her caucus than whatever Republican was in charge of the House.

That is a phenomenal achievement. And it is almost certainly going to be the one she will be most remembered for. She got things done. She held her caucus together. She didn't give up when she lost the majority the first time (as most speakers do), she instead put in the years as minority leader and led her Democrats back into power. She served under four presidents. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if they eventually name a House office building after her, as she has earned such an accolade with her record.

I am writing to sing her praises today because she just announced from the House floor that she will be stepping down from her leadership position at the end of this year. She will continue to be a House "backbencher" and will not retire completely, at least for the next two years. It is rumored that one of her daughters is eyeing her San Francisco House seat and could almost certainly step into her mother's shoes, so the D'Alesandro/Pelosi dynasty might actually continue to the next generation.

Today's announcement was indeed generational. Because not only Pelosi stepped down from leadership, but her entire leadership team will follow her lead one last time. This will open up these positions for the first time in a very long time (Pelosi and the current two top Democrats are all octogenarians). Pelosi may be followed by the first Black congressman to ever lead a political party, which would also be historic, but no matter how the leadership elections go the face of the Democratic House is about to get a lot younger. The three leading candidates for leadership positions are 43, 52, and 59 years old. This will be truly a generational shift, and it will happen all at once.

Pelosi's absence will likely be missed -- the new Democratic leadership probably won't be anywhere near as competent and effective, at least at first -- but she'll be around to lend a hand when necessary, as a sort of "speaker emeritus." She'll be a mentor, and likely a very good one.

For many years, while Democrats pulled their hair out at not getting a whole lot of things through the Senate even when they had large majorities, Pelosi kept doing her job and doing it astoundingly well. She would send over hundreds of bills to the Senate, proving she could keep her Democrats moving forward even on contentious votes. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer struggled with getting the Senate to act, but Pelosi always delivered. To be fair, the rules of the Senate are a lot tougher, but even so the difference was rather notable at times.

Pelosi, from all accounts, was a master at the political game. She could be convincing or she could be threatening, as the situation demanded. She had a spine of the toughest steel imaginable, and she could play political hardball with ease. That is necessary in an effective speaker, and it is what will be most noticeable for being absent in the next House speaker.

Pelosi favorably mentioned her work with three presidents (George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden) while pointedly not mentioning the fourth she was forced to work with. She probably did so out of politeness, since she so often made mincemeat out of Donald Trump in negotiations. Trump either hates or is terrified (or both, perhaps) of any strong and powerful woman, and Pelosi used this quite effectively to get under his skin on a regular basis. She engendered hatred on the right for doing so, which only added to the hatred they already felt for Pelosi even before Trump came to town.

But even that hatred came with respect. It was impossible to ridicule Pelosi as being helpless or captive to one faction of her party or another, since it was pretty obvious that neither one was true. She used both carrots and sticks with all the various wings of her House Democrats, and she got the votes she needed when she needed them. She was, as I have repeatedly said, one of the most effective speakers of my lifetime. Which her political opponents might even begrudgingly admit (although not in public, most likely).

For sixteen years -- half of them as speaker and half as minority leader -- Nancy Pelosi has led the House Democrats to both historic victories as well as fierce resistance to the extreme parts of the Republican agenda. Throughout it all there were never huge defections. The days of dozens of Democrats being wooed into "let's be bipartisan... which, to us, means you accept everything we say and get nothing" aisle-crossing ended when Pelosi took over the reins.

Nancy Pelosi will go down in history. Her speech today -- given while dressed in suffragette white -- was the swansong of a very impressive career in congressional leadership. But Pelosi being the first woman to hold the job is really, at this point, only one reason why her leadership was so historic. To me, the most impressive reason was how well she did the job. Nancy Pelosi will long be remembered as the strongest Democratic leader in Congress in a generation's time.

She will be missed. So I, for one, would like to close by offering up my own thanks for the stellar job she did herding the Democratic House cats. Well done, Madam Speaker, well done indeed!

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

31 Comments on “Thank You, Nancy Pelosi”

  1. [1] 
    MyVoice wrote:

    Pelosi has always been about the art of maximizing the possible today and then extending it further, once the window opened a bit more.

    Won't be easy to fill those high heels.

  2. [2] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I understand the Dems lost the popular vote by 4 million votes!

    That's a pretty substantial Republican win, eh? I wonder what it will mean if they do the same in 2024 ...

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    Thank You, Nancy Pelosi

    Ding dong, the witch is gone, the mean old witch, the wicked witch, ding dong the wicked witch is gone..

    :D

    Liz,

    I understand the Dems lost the popular vote by 4 million votes!

    That's a pretty substantial Republican win, eh? I wonder what it will mean if they do the same in 2024 ...

    Funny how Democrats are silent about the Popular Vote, eh???

    Hypocrisy. It's not a bug in Democrat programming. It's a feature.

    :D

    1/20

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    Along those lines, let me ask a sincere question..

    Aren't the midterms strictly along the lines of the popular vote?? I mean, Presidential Elections are Electoral College. And it's possible to win the PE even if you lose the PV.. I get that..

    But aren't House/Senate/Gov etc etc races strictly by the popular vote??

    This being the case, how can the GOP win the popular vote, but still lose elections???

    Enquiring minds want to know.. :D

    2/20

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Funny how Democrats are silent about the Popular Vote, eh???

    Yeah, I have, ah, noticed that.

    Just a really quick check of the news last night and I stumbled upon this House popular vote majority produced few seats, but is a good sign for Republicans in 2024

    I'm sure there is a better explanation out there, somewhere. Maybe Chris will write about it. Hope so!

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Just FYI.. Your link goes to a dead end, but I found the referenced article here..

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columnists/house-popular-vote-majority-republicans-2024

    As to the article itself??

    "I don't know what all that means, but it sounds pretty bad.."
    -Tom Cruise, A FEW GOOD MEN

    :D

    But I DID hear "is a good sign for Republicans" so I am happy.. :D

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Let's see what they do with their new majority in the House. I don't have high hopes.

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Oh I do..

    They are off to a REALLY good start.. :D

    'Americans will be shocked': Former Hunter Biden business partner lauds GOP probe into Hunter Biden

    Joe Biden has denied any involvement in Hunter's deals
    https://www.foxnews.com/media/hunter-biden-business-partner-lauds-james-comer-probe-americans-shocked

    Finally the FACTS are going to come out.. :D

    And just think.. It's ALL because Democrats set the precedence for Political Persecution to settle political scores.. :D

    4/20

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    If Hunter Biden deserves to be indicted, then DOJ should just do it.

    If Republicans are smart, then they will focus their oversight role on Biden's policies and how he has handled any number of crises and challenges and provide a better way forward. That's how they can win in 2024.

  10. [10] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    2

    I understand the Dems lost the popular vote by 4 million votes!

    In the 2022 election, there were 14 uncontested by any Party House districts held by Republicans with only 3 by Democrats. There were also 10 districts in which the GOP had no major-party opponents and just 3 for Democrats.

    You cannot vote for a Democrat if one is not listed on your ballot, and the vast majority of voters do not vote for third-party candidates.

    California also has a top-two primary system so there are 6 districts there in which both candidates are Democrats.

    So effectively, there are more than 20 districts in which the GOP could run up the score compared with about a dozen for Democrats.

    That's a pretty substantial Republican win, eh?

    Under the circumstances, I don't think it is, and they're still counting ballots in California.

    I wonder what it will mean if they do the same in 2024 ...

    Democrats don't waste their time and money running in flyover country, and Republicans can't win in a large expanse of land in California.

    So, to recap: There isn't always a Democrat and/or Republican on the ballot.

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    If Hunter Biden deserves to be indicted, then DOJ should just do it.

    Agreed.. But since Biden's DOJ is hopelessly and irrevocably politicized, other forces need to step up..

    If Republicans are smart, then they will focus their oversight role on Biden's policies and how he has handled any number of crises

    Oh that's going to be done as well.. First up will be how Biden got 13 brave American troops killed in Afghanistan and how Biden turned over 88 BILLION dollars worth of top o the line American military hardware to terrorists..

    There is going to be PLENTY of Biden and Democrat malfeasance and incompetence to go around..

    :D

    It's PARTY TIME!!! :D

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    n the 2022 election, there were 14 uncontested by any Party House districts held by Republicans with only 3 by Democrats. There were also 10 districts in which the GOP had no major-party opponents and just 3 for Democrats.

    So, how does this situation compare to midterm elections of the past few cycles?

  13. [13] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, how many eligible voters are in those uncontested districts?

    In other words, Kick, you need to provide more information so that we can make a more meaningful assessment of what happened in 2022.

    Four million votes is a pretty big deal, after all. :)

  14. [14] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    4

    Aren't the midterms strictly along the lines of the popular vote??

    Basically, yes.

    But aren't House/Senate/Gov etc etc races strictly by the popular vote??

    Basically, yes; however, there are so many House seats that are gerrymandered by "cracking" and "packing" by the legislatures of states that many people will not bother to vote because their vote has already been effectively rendered pointless -- the candidates choosing the voters versus the voters choosing the candidates -- and they will therefore abstain.

    https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/gerrymandering-explained

    This being the case, how can the GOP win the popular vote, but still lose elections???

    There isn't a national popular vote to elect Representatives and Senators who are elected by voters in that district and state, not all eligible voters will vote due to factors like gerrymandering, and there aren't the same amount of voters in every state. There also isn't a Democrat on everyone's ballot because Republicans run uncontested in many districts due to gerrymandering and vice versa, although more Republicans run uncontested; however, you will generally see a Democrat and a Republican on every ballot for a Senate seat... but in 2022 there wasn't a Democrat on the Senate ballot in Utah.

    You simply cannot gerrymander a Senate seat, and that's primarily the reason why Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Kick,

    Ahhh I see what you are saying..

    Thanx.. That clears it up for me..

    6/20

  16. [16] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    12

    So, how does this situation compare to midterm elections of the past few cycles?

    I wouldn't even try to compare this election to past elections beyond what I've already done until all the votes are actually counted; although, there is obviously nothing stopping anyone else interested in that information from doing it.

    So, to recap: TYA

  17. [17] 
    Kick wrote:

    Elizabeth Miller
    13

    And, how many eligible voters are in those uncontested districts?

    Does it really matter how many were eligible voters when you're obviously comparing how many were actual nationwide voters Republicans versus Democrats?

    In other words, Kick, you need to provide more information so that we can make a more meaningful assessment of what happened in 2022.

    You need to pound sand... but not before counting the eligible grains in the pile. :)

  18. [18] 
    Kick wrote:

    Michale
    15

    Ahhh I see what you are saying..

    Thanx.. That clears it up for me..

    You are certainly welcome. :)

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    MC,

    Don't recall the exact date, but I remember that yer D-Day is around this time..

    Happy B-Day, dood...

    Here's hoping another fun-filled year of locking horns.. :D

    7/20

  20. [20] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [12]

    Thanks, Michale. It was the 12th and my 64th. Yeah, I’ma stick around — converting you into a bleeding heart Liberal is still on my bucket list, after all.
    ;)

  21. [21] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Right after Pelosi became Speaker of the House, I read an article by Pelosi's daughter, Alexandra Pelosi, who is a journalist and who filmed a documentary called Journeys with George following and filming George W Bush during the 2000 campaign and into White House. The article was about a note that she had received right after Nancy Pelosi became the Speaker of the House in 2007 while Bush was President.

    The note might have been the sweetest thing I can ever remember being written by a politician. In it Bush tells Alexandra how proud of her mother he is, and how proud she should be of what her mother accomplished. He admitted that his one regret was not being able to convince Nancy to switch over to the Republican Party...saying he knew that she was one to watch when they had first met years earlier. That respect for her was clear when Bush introduced her at his 2007 State of the Union address.

    By tradition, a speaker of the House introduces a president on State of the Union night this way: “Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States.” In January 2007, Bush began his address as follows: “Tonight, I have a high privilege and distinct honor of my own — as the first president to begin the State of the Union message with these words: ‘Madam Speaker.’”

    Nancy Pelosi was a powerhouse. She kept the House Democrats together during some tough times. She kept them united. There were no surprises when votes were taken in the House. Nancy made sure that she had the votes necessary to pass legislation or she didn't allow the vote to take place. When minority leader, she again kept the Democrats united to fight against legislation that they could not support. And unlike her Republican counterparts, when a Republican was in the White House, she would work with Republicans to put forth legislation that both sides could be satisfied with.

    Nancy Pelosi served as Speaker of the House with honor and with the people's best interests at heart. She is the standard for future Speakers to strive for.

  22. [22] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Liz,

    In more than one race, both candidates on the ballot were Republican. So no matter who you voted for, a Republican was getting your vote. Democrats in those areas voted for the Republican they felt best fit their values... So you see why you cannot view this as being people siding with Republican politics just because they received a greater number of votes?

    With Senators, since they are elected for 6 year terms, if you ran in this mid-term, you will run for re-election in the primary of 2028. Your next re-election campaign will be the mid-terms of 2034. They switch back and forth between primary and mid-terms. The Democrats had more Senators from blue states running in 2018... part of why the Dems had such a strong year. It's also why Dems will likely have a very strong 2024.

  23. [23] 
    Kick wrote:

    ListenWhenYouHear
    21

    Great post, Russ.

    XOXOXOXO :)

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Thanks, Michale. It was the 12th and my 64th. Yeah, I’ma stick around — converting you into a bleeding heart Liberal is still on my bucket list, after all.

    Naaw.. You'll be bowing to yer MAGA god before yer 65th... :D

    8/20

  25. [25] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    You’re cracking me up, @m. :D

  26. [26] 
    Kick wrote:

    What Russ said!

    Also, Democrats are notorious for not voting in midterms, but generally getting better all the time (there's a Beatles song in there).

    In Texas, there were millions of eligible voters who abstained from voting for a myriad of reasons; many of them declined to vote because they lived in gerrymandered districts where the outcome of their representative was already virtually assured combined with the fact that neither of Texas's U.S. Senators were on the ballot in 2022.

    Put Ted Cruz on the ballot and you'll have a whole lot more Democrats (as well as Republicans who cannot stand him) get off their butts and go vote. Put Donald Trump on the ballot along with Ted Cruz, and watch those lines fill up. I believe this would virtually guarantee a larger turnout of Democrats in Texas.

    Ted Cruz actually is on the ballot in 2024 (barring any unforeseen developments, of course). Wonder if Trump will be on the ballot, but I dang sure wouldn't bet against it.

    Senators Up for Reelection in 2024

    AZ: Kyrsten Sinema (D)
    CA: Dianne Feinstein (D)
    CT: Christopher Murphy (D)
    DE: Thomas Carper (D)
    FL: Rick Scott (R)
    HI: Mazie Hirono (D)
    IN: Mike Braun (R)
    ME: Angus King (I) Caucuses with D
    MD: Benjamin Cardin (D)
    MA: Elizabeth Warren (D)
    MI: Debbie Stabenow (D)
    MN: Amy Klobuchar (D)
    MS: Roger Wicker (R)
    MO: Josh Hawley (R)
    MT: Jon Tester (D)
    NE: Deb Fischer (R)
    NV: Jacky Rosen (D)
    NJ: Robert Menendez (D)
    NM: Martin Heinrich (D)
    NY: Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
    ND: Kevin Cramer (R)
    OH: Sherrod Brown (D)
    PA: Robert Casey (D)..............2028 John Fetterman (D) :p
    RI: Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
    TN: Marsha Blackburn (R)
    TX: Ted Cruz (R)
    UT: Mitt Romney (R)
    VT: Bernie Sanders (I) Caucuses with D
    VA: Tim Kaine (D)
    WA: Maria Cantwell (D)
    WV: Joe Manchin (D)
    WI: Tammy Baldwin (D)
    WY: John Barrasso (R)

    Only 10 Republican Senate seats up for reelection in 2024.

  27. [27] 
    Michale wrote:

    How ironic...

    An Election Denier is going to be the new Democrat Minority Party leader..

    How apropos, eh?? :D

    9/20

  28. [28] 
    Michale wrote:

    "The more we learn about 2016 the more ILLEGITIMATE it becomes. America deserves to know whether we have a FAKE President in the Oval Office."
    -Election Denier Democrat Hakeem Jefferies Tube

    Oh, the situation is simply DRIPPING with irony, eh?? :D

    10/20

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Russ,

    The Republicans won the popular vote by four MILLION votes. I'm just saying, it's a big deal. :)

  30. [30] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    [26]

    Thanks for the good work, Kick. Looks like us Left Coasters get a chance to retire Diane Feinstein at last.

    Death to the DINOs!

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Kick,

    You need to pound sand...

    Wait ... what?

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