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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Keep Pelosi, dump Schumer

It seems extraordinary that Nancy Pelosi has detractors calling for her to be dumped and someone else chosen as Speaker of the US House of Representatives, despite helping return the House to Democratic control through her relentless focus on healthcare, the number one issue US voters were concerned about this year. She deserves another term as Speaker because she’s earned it, and no other person with her skills has emerged.

Her real-world experience is self-evident. Nancy Pelosi is the reason that the Affordable Care Act was passed. When even the Obama Administration was getting ready to give up in the face of Republican intransigence, Pelosi pulled it through and made it possible for the bill to pass Congress and be singed into law. She also got a climate bill passed. But there’s another issue her detractors completely ignore.

In 2005, recently re-elected (or, elected, to be pedantic…) George W. Bush was determined to use his political capital to privatise social security, something he’d promised to do in his State of the Union Address. Pelosi stopped him: Not one single Democrat defected—they all voted against it. Pelosi saved Social Security from destruction by Republicans, and she’s now poised to do it again, if she’s Speaker again.

Progressives sometimes complain that legislative compromise was “always” in the direction of the Centre and Right, and not toward them, but that only looks at bills passed. It ignores the bad things she stopped, like privatising social security.

Many of her detractors say she’s “too old”. Seriously? A man in that position wouldn’t be called “too old”, he’d be called “experienced”. I agree that she needs to groom and train potential successors, but not because of her age. Instead, it’s because the Democratic Caucus needs more potential leaders for the future.

It’s also worth noting that all five conservative men organising against her have voted with the current occupant of the White House far more than Pelosi has. One of them actually said out loud that there are “plenty of really competent females” to replace Pelosi. As opposed the “really competent female” already there.

Nancy Pelosi has proven herself to be an excellent Speaker, and she will be again. There’s simply no one else in the Caucus we know of who has her skills and experience at a time Democrats desperately need both to provide oversight of the current regime, including investigating the things Republicans flat-out refused to investigate.

If you want to look for a Democrat to remove from leadership, the obvious choice is Chuck Schumer, the Democrats’ Leader in the US Senate. He’s quite simply absolutely terrible at his job. He opposed President Obama’s Iran deal, one of the president’s biggest foreign policy initiatives, and he’s responsible for the Senate Democrats’ disastrous strategy on the Kavenaugh confirmation hearings, something that ended up handing Republicans a Senate campaign issue, gift wrapped and served on a silver platter—something Republicans gleefully used to help defeat three conservative Democratic Senators.

When the dust settles, Democrats will have had a net loss of one or two Senate seats at a time when every vote in the Senate is vital. There were other seats that were winnable if Schumer and the Democratic establishment had done the hard work. So Schumer must accept personal responsibility for that loss, both because he utterly botched Democrats’ efforts to stop the Kavanaugh confirmation, and because he did nothing to wage additional Senate battles that could have been competitive with a greater push from the leadership.

Because of this, Schumer’s given the current regime carte blanche to install hundreds of radical extremist Republicans as federal judges, thereby screwing up America for decades to come. That’s now all on him.

For the next two years, Democrats need Congressional leadership that can join the battle with Republicans in order to stop the current regime’s worst agenda items. We have a strong and able leader in Nancy Pelosi, but Chuck Schumer has demonstrated that he simply cannot do the job. He should be replaced. The fate of the republic may well depend on it.

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