“She never takes any responsibility”: House Dem backbiting of Pelosi, leadership continues

I’m skeptical of this Fox News analysis that Pelosi might be toppled as Speaker in the next leadership election, but there’s no denying their math. Democrats may end up with something like 221 seats. All it would take is four stubborn defectors to make her unelectable.

The pressure on the caucus not to humiliate a respected elder statesman — not to mention the first woman Speaker ever — by ignominiously overthrowing her after a poor election showing would be tremendous. Even if the effort succeeded, Pelosi would have powerful allies at the top willing to punish the defectors later. But the party’s showing on Tuesday was so underwhelming that an extreme gesture of accountability may be necessary. (DCCC chair Cheri Bustos will probably end up paying the price instead of Pelosi.) God knows, the caucus must be ready for change. Pelosi’s been in charge for 17 years and is now 80 years old. Steny Hoyer, her longtime number two, is 81. Jim Clyburn, the majority whip, is 80 as well. Trump’s strong showing with Latinos and African-Americans is a hook for younger Dems to insist that it’s time for fresh blood at the top. The old guard is out of touch and minority voters can no longer be taken for granted.

I gave you two posts yesterday in the “Dems in disarray” genre, one about the near-death experience their House majority ended up having on election night, the other about that sh*show caucus conference call in which centrists and lefties started pointing fingers at each other. Pelosi held her weekly press conference this morning and decided to paper over the whole thing with dubious claims that Biden had secured a “tremendous mandate” by … barely winning while his party underperformed in the Senate and the House:

Think she’ll be able to talk her caucus into believing they actually had an awesome night on Tuesday? Me neither. New from CNN:

“She never takes any responsibility,” one House Democratic member, asking for anonymity to candidly discuss the powerful speaker, told CNN. “We blew it.”

Some Democrats complained about Pelosi’s handling this summer of police reform and the latest round of economic stimulus, which has stalled amid broken-down talks between the speaker and the Treasury secretary. In particular, one Democrat argued that their party’s push to make it easier to sue police officers in civil court — known as qualified immunity — allowed Republicans to demonize Democrats on the issue and make them appear soft on law enforcement.

“She made everyone walk the plank on qualified immunity, didn’t cut a deal on Covid,” said the first Democratic member. “Thank God for Biden or we would have gotten wiped out.”

“There needs to be an attitude in leadership in getting legislation passed — and not messaging bills. I keep telling people you know how much money the Heroes Act got to my district? Zero,” the second Democratic member said, referring to the $3 trillion-plus Democratic bill passed in May that Republicans refused to take up in the Senate…

One Democratic House member said that Pelosi is “strategically and tactically unmatchable,” but added: “She knows the sports playbook but we cannot understand what play she is calling.”

The point about the stimulus is interesting. It could be that Trump’s failure to make a deal ended up hurting him enough to tip the election to Biden, but that wouldn’t be inconsistent with voters also punishing House Dems for Pelosi’s hardball negotiations. It *would* be a little inconsistent with a surprisingly strong showing by Senate Republicans, who were the biggest obstacle to a robust compromise. I wonder if Pelosi is second-guessing herself today for not taking Trump’s and Mnuchin’s final offer, which was in the ballpark of what House Dems wanted. (Remember, some progressives like Ro Khanna encouraged her to make a deal, believing that the urgency of the economic situation made a deal necessary.) If she and the White House had come to terms, it *might* have helped Trump enough to get him over the finish line — or it might not have, while also hurting McConnell and the Senate GOP by forcing them to reject the deal and own the failure to get anything passed.

Anyway, it’s probably going to get worse for her and the party before it gets better:

The left is hitting back today too. After centrist Abigail Spanberger complained on the caucus conference call yesterday of progressives’ poisonous “defund the police” messaging (you can listen to the full audio here), AOC rode to the rescue with a counterargument. The real reason the party underperformed, she insists, was poor organizing tactics.

Yeah, I don’t know. Better organizing would help any candidate, but Ocasio-Cortez would get obliterated in the sort of R+6 district that Spanberger has to contend with no matter how good her digital might be. And that’s really the crux of Spanberger’s and the centrists’ complaint: Thanks to the high profile of progressive bombthrowers like the Squad, AOC’s on the ballot everywhere. Even in purple districts.

I’ll leave you with this clip of former Dem candidate Andrew Yang that’s gone viral overnight. Perhaps there’s a clue in it about how Dems might make gains in 2022. Exit quotation from another unhappy member of Pelosi’s caucus, complaining to CNN: “I think the issue is that Democrats are not hanging out with working class voters enough.”

Continue reading at Hot Air