There are a couple of places where democracy simply doesn’t work well. One is among the lemmings, where the citizenry regularly vote for the entire community to leap off a cliff into the sea. The other is the Democrat Caucus in the US House of Representatives where the members also just voted to go over the edge themselves.
On Wednesday, US House Democrats voted to keep Nancy Pelosi as their leader; and congratulations are in order – to the GOP. You probably saw that coming, but it’s true. There are problems with electing a political leader from a district so secure that she has no need to understand the American public.
From San Francisco, the destruction of the House Democrat majority is fading smoke on a distant horizon. In Heath Shuler’s district, in Sanford Bishop’s district and in the districts of many other Democrat Representatives, it’s an angry, blazing forest fire so powerful that it sucks the oxygen from the air. In over 60 other formerly Democrat-held districts, it’s a smoldering mass of blackened cinders and ruined political careers. Unfortunately in the politically catastrophic aftermath, the defeated Democrat representatives had no opportunity to vote on Ms. Pelosi’s leadership skills.
Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid failed to anticipate the public’s strong reaction to their heavy-handed manipulation, broken promises and backroom deals granting special privileges to a few groups. Equally short-sighted were the arrogant and cavalier responses to voters’ concerns.
The worst mistakes made by Ms. Pelosi were inexplicable, amateur errors with large consequences. Never underestimate your political opponents and certainly don’t goad them into taking action against your own party and candidates. Ms. Pelosi did those things and reveled in her actions, thus becoming the poster child for “Washington Arrogance”.
Pelosi called TEA Partiers “Astroturf” and “Un-American” before accusing them of bearing swastikas at rallies. She refused to take them seriously and mocked people with legitimate concerns about the scope of government, America’s rising debt and the lack of Congressional responsibility. Finally in desperation, Pelosi and her allies even called the protesters racists. Americans did not buy it.
Because voters could not get Pelosi, and often their own elected officials, to acknowledge their concerns other ways, they sent a message via the ballot. The Representatives and Senators voted out in primaries and the general election were the price of postage on the voters’ letter to Washington. Some of the politicians got the message, but Pelosi needs a translator.
Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to encourage the remaining Democrats to maintain their path of defiance by celebrating their “accomplishments” will rub many voters the wrong way, as will her defiant rhetoric. There are those who will see Pelosi’s antagonistic and abrasive stances as courageous, but these people think George Armstrong Custer was brave.
The reaction of Speaker, soon to be Minority Leader, Pelosi does not appear to be appropriate under the circumstances. We are left with several possible explanations, but they all involve either some form of mental illness – mostly, but not limited to, forms of reality denial – or a total misreading of the political landscape. Take your pick, but either alternative is not a good one for a political leader.
Late in Georgia’s 8th Congressional District campaign, Democrat incumbent Jim Marshall said he would not support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. It was too little, too late and too unconvincing to help Marshall who had supported Pelosi’s bids for Speaker four times. Pelosi was already the focus of many yard signs tying Marshall to the House Speaker:
Fire Nancy Pelosi
Defeat Jim Marshall
In two years, look for variations on these signs in districts across the country. If Pelosi’s approval ratings improve, it will be because of the faded memories of voters. Don’t count on that happening. Astroturf lasts a long time and it doesn’t need to be covered in reeking piles of fresh fertilizer.
Congratulations, GOP. Just remember to be properly grateful for this gift.