This morning’s Washington Post headline made me laugh: “Pelosi for House Minority Leader: A Bad Idea or Just What the Democrats Need?” I’m sure there are plenty of Republicans that think “Minority Leader Pelosi” is a great idea. Reporter Karen Tumulty points out why: “No figure in politics today is as toxic as Pelosi, if her starring role in thousands of Republican ads this year is any indication. Her favorable rating in recent polls has been below 30 percent.” Of course the Republican National Committee would love for her to stay in office.
But is that really what’s best for the rest of us? Take a look at the statement she released as soon as the bipartisan chairs of the Deficit Reduction Commission unveiled their preliminary list of proposals yesterday to get the national debt under control:
This proposal is simply unacceptable. Any final proposal from the Commission should do what is right for our children and grandchildren's economic security as well as for our nation's fiscal security, and it must do what is right for our seniors, who are counting on the bedrock promises of Social Security and Medicare. And it must strengthen America's middle class families--under siege for the last decade, and unable to withstand further encroachment on their economic security.
To put out a knee-jerk statement like this, immediately attacking the proposals for not doing what’s right for our children--huh?--just seems thoughtless and almost irresponsible to me. She’s already said she’s looking to push back any Republican moves to repeal or replace healthcare reform. Clearly she has no interest in ever compromising with Republicans going forward on any number of issues. Is that really what’s best for our country? Apparently she didn’t get the memo that said Americans are sick of gridlock.
Neither did the president. This morning in Seoul, ABC’s Jake Tapper asked President Obama if the Democratic Party needed new leadership. He replied that he was looking forward to continuing to work with Nancy Pelosi, who has “been an outstanding partner for me.” It reminded me of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s response on Christmas Day last year to the underwear bomber: “The system worked.”
Clearly Speaker Pelosi has become the voice of the left in this country, more so than even the president. No other Democrat on the national stage can raise money like she can, and she enjoys the trust of the far left base. The Post reports that since the elections, she’s garnered statements of support from women’s groups and organized labor, is doing a media tour with liberal news outlets and columnists, and held a thank-you party for her progressive political supporters this week.
Really, Nancy Pelosi should step down from the leadership. The vote is set for next Wednesday by secret ballot, and I’d bet plenty of currently-silent Democrats would vote for someone else who may be able to work with Republicans on solutions to our economic problems as minority leader--conservative Democrat Heath Shuler of North Carolina is rumored to be considering the option, which is great news.
Here’s an idea: Nancy Pelosi should become the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee instead. It would send a great signal about the importance of women to the Democratic Party, it would energize the Democratic base and build momentum going into 2012, and she’d be able to stay on the Sunday talk shows and on the campaign trail--which of course would make Republicans happy. It’s a win-win for everybody--but most of all, for the concerned taxpayers who’d like to see the bulk of the deficit commission’s proposals enjoy bipartisan support and become law.